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Saturday, Mar 13, 2021 at 1:17 pm

2020 Graduates Reflect on how COVID-19 Impacted their Life

By Alex Malanoski

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – One year ago today, the United States went into its first stage of lockdown as COVID-19 spread rapidly across the globe. For the class of 2020, the timing could not have been worse. 

“I remember it like it was yesterday, but it also feels like it was five years ago,” said 2020 SU graduate Cameron Tirado. 

This time last year, Tirado was in New York City for the Newhouse NYC program, interning at MSNBC. She had looked forward to this experience her entire college career and it was shocking to be forced home. “It’s a really hard transition to go from being this independent person with your career in front of you, you’re working toward your future and you’re only a few months away from graduation… to then almost being like a child.” 

High school seniors know this isolating feeling all too well. “The day I found out school was cancelled was really painful. In an instant, everything was just gone. Every other week I was getting an email: senior trip is cancelled, your state competition is cancelled, your track competitions are all cancelled. It was a really difficult time period for everyone in our shoes,” said current SU freshman Taylor Contarino. 

Contarino described the unique challenge of adjusting to college life during the pandemic. “We were with our families for six to eight months straight, not leaving our homes, and now you’re in this completely different atmosphere with thousands of different people. It was a good transition but definitely a hard one. It might have been tougher than it would be in normal circumstances.” 

While the class of 2024 isn’t getting the freshmen year they envisioned, they’ll hopefully have the chance to experience the culminating moments the class of 2020 missed out on. 

Tirado shared some advice with current SU students after reflecting on her senior year cut far too short. “You don’t know what’s around the corner, and I think that’s true with everything that’s happened right now. Enjoy the time you can with friends, even if it’s socially distanced. Enjoy going anywhere that’s your favorite spot and go there as much as you possibly can, because there may be a little virus that shuts everything down and you can’t do that ever again.”