For busy college students, summer jobs are essential to making a little extra cash during all that free time. No class schedule to work around and no exams to study for. It could even mean the difference between paying tuition next semester or rent. With the hit of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we saw a massive wave of college students expressing grief and frustration over losing their jobs and internships. As popular job spots like clothing stores and restaurants shut their doors, college kids found themselves scrambling to make ends meet. As for me, I had left for Florida in March, to spend what I thought would be a week with my grandparents. I had planned to job hunt during my spring break and have a job ready for me when I came back for the summer.
Obviously, that's not at all what happened. 2 days into my spring break, it was decided. The College of Charleston was shutting down until further notice. Not long after, Florida businesses were ordered to shut down as well. I was stuck. Well, not literally. I considered myself lucky. I was with my amazing grandparents in Florida. It could've been a lot worse. But I still mourned the loss of the end of my freshman year. I felt robbed of a proper good-bye to my suitemates and wished for a sense of closure. We were only given an hour to pack and move out of the dorms, so after a 9-hour drive from Florida, I was frantically left with packing chaos.
Once re-settled in Florida, my plans to work all summer were smashed to pieces. Nothing was open, and some businesses were even shutting down for good. All I could do was wait and drag myself through 2 months of online schooling. Living with my grandparents during a pandemic put us all on edge. Even though my aunt and uncle lived only 10 minutes away, they were too scared to come to visit. My grandparents didn’t know what to do with themselves. My grandpa was suddenly setting up shop in the guest room to move his entire business online, teaching himself Microsoft Teams. My grandmother passed the time by continuing to write her book series, "The Maagy Series." I struggled to finish out the year online, missing my friends and my boyfriend.
It wasn't all bad. My grandparents are probably the coolest people to be quarantined with. We watched Family Feud every night during dinner. My grandpa and I would still go fishing as much as we could. My grandma and I hopped on the bread-making fad. But I still stressed over my inability to work. Once school ended, I didn't have a lot to pass the time or to tell the days apart.
I knew a lot of people were struggling with this like I was. The 2020 college graduates, diplomas in hand, had no job market to even enter. It was a new level of frustration. I had a goal that I wanted to reach before I got back to school, but suddenly it was June, and I hadn't made a dime. Even Florida, who opened up restrictions probably faster than they closed, was struggling to keep businesses open.
Finally, at the beginning of June, I was able to snatch up a waitressing job. I felt such a sense of relief. I FINALLY was going to be making some money. I finally had some small sense of normalcy. Working during a pandemic is not easy. Especially in a restaurant. We, the staff, would try our very best to keep ourselves and our guests happy and safe. It wasn't always perfect, and people weren't always nice, but I felt like I was finally able to accomplish something. After 2 months of sitting around, watching depressing newsreels after depressing newsreels, I had a job.