The consequences of COVID-19 have been difficult for everyone. In some ways, it can be especially difficult for 20 year olds. With no sort of stability, high expectations, and literally nobody around us, this seems like a recipe for disaster. Today I’d like to share a bit of my story, and how the pandemic has affected my life for the past 6 months.
Like many 20 year olds, I pursued a college degree after high school. Upon graduation in 2018, the market left me with a broken economy and only restaurant jobs hiring. The coronavirus outbreak began in late fall/early winter 2019. Coming into the new year, I said: NO MORE! Tired of accepting less for myself, and I’m going to struggle until I find something worth my time.
Come February, I would become employed as Head Teacher of a preschool. It was a dream come true for me!! I was finally given the opportunity to show all the wonderful things I am made of... and I was EXCELLENT. Thus far, that has been my best employment experience yet. Then in March, just as fast, I was laid off from my job due to COVID-19.
Losing the job that finally values you for what you’re worth is a very tough thing. Especially when the circumstances are beyond you. Come to find out, that was just the beginning of my problems.
Applying for unemployment. The application is a mess! The original site was ineffective and and it had to be completely revamped. Getting all the information together for unemployment was difficult to say the least. Having started a new job in the new year, it was not recorded on my previous tax record. I had to wait until the site was updated (again) to manually input my information. Due to a delay in filing my taxes, I never received my stimulus check either.
The months of April, May, and June were some of the most difficult in terms of surviving. My household was already down to one source of income when I lost my job due to COVID-19. With no real relief package from the government, we were forced to use every last drop of our savings. There were many days we went hungry and told ourselves we weren’t. There were times we had to ask family for help buying us groceries because we were down to just the spices in our cabinets.
Thankfully, things didn’t stay horrible forever. We had help from friends and family who brought us food and supplies simply out of kindness. Ziggy finally started receiving his unemployment in May, and I received mine in late June. We made arrangements and left the house of misery that was weighing us down.
While following health & safety protocols, Ziggy and I began backpacking across the country in search of a new home on the west coast. Our trip has taken many detours because life isn’t “normal” to say the least. On the trail, not all water wells have a pump, and not all campgrounds are open. While traveling, there are spaces in between seats and people coming around to check face coverings. When going into a museum we have our temperature read before going inside.
Zoo’s aren’t as enjoyable because it’s a game of avoiding people. There were many animals we didn’t get to see up close. Most cute pictures end up looking the same because of the face coverings. And if you take them off for a pic, you’re judged. Can’t wait inside for my food to go with Ziggy, because there’s only one person at a time allowed. I miss being able to hug and see my parents on a regular basis.
The good news is that COVID-19 isn’t inevitable. There are plenty of health and safety precautions people can take for this pandemic to go away. Wearing face coverings and washing your hands are excellent virus defense. Staying home and limiting interactions with others is another great way.
While this may seem like the biggest road block into starting our careers, fear not!! Time is a wonderful thing. My time quarantined from March to July was where I did some major self discovery. I decided to go back to school and pursue a graduate degree. I decided that my job does not define me, and I am capable of achieving anything I can dream of. If you’re young and unsure about the future, use this time to find yourself. Namaste!
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