The challenges COVID-19 poses for 2020 Simpson grads


photo submitted to the Simpsonian

2020 Seniors Danielle and Tristan in their robes.

by Paul Hyatt, Staff Reporter

2020 Simpson College graduates are still dealing with the difficulties of finding a job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danielle Johnson and Tristan Davis are two of those graduates.  

Johnson graduated in 2020 with a music and psychology major and Davis graduated in 2020 with an art major.

The couple met at Simpson and both are immunocompromised. They are braving the pandemic together and have had their post-graduate plans shattered by COVID-19.  

“My initial plan was to attend graduate school this year and work a graduate assistantship there. But I ended up deferring for a year since my partner and I are immunocompromised,” Johnson said. “Now I am unemployed, which is scary for me since I’ve worked basically every day of my life since I was sixteen.”  

Unable to find jobs safely, the couple has been forced to live with Davis’s parents and hold off their plans for at least a year.  

“Looking for a job during the pandemic has been pretty difficult especially since I have to find jobs that are online or are safe enough to be at,” Davis said. “For me, it has been stressful because I am trying to take care of myself while also being concerned about not having the money to get ready for grad school or the money to pay for what we need.”  

Isolation and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 have also taken a toll on their mental health. 

“I have had panic attacks because of not knowing what’s going to happen and worrying about money,” Davis said. “On top of that, I have had some trouble sleeping properly.”  

It doesn’t help when COVID-19 is everywhere and affects every part of their lives. 

“My mental health has plummeted since COVID-19 and not even my meds can help that,” Johnson said. “My mom also died from COVID-19, further instilling my anxiety and fear about the virus and even attempting to find work until it’s more under control.”  

Coby Berg, another 2020 Simpson graduate with a public relations major, has been on the job search but has found nothing but frustration from the slowness that COVID-19 has injected into the process.  

“The job search has been slow and difficult work,” Berg said. “Companies take a few weeks to get back to you about the job, and since I’m fresh out of college they want someone with a bit more professional experience.” 

When Berg is able to find the sporadic interview, he often runs into more difficulties due to COVID-19. 

“I have had companies set up an interview only to cancel it telling me they are no longer accepting applicants either because they found their fit or because they no longer want or need the position,” Berg said.  

Luckily for 2020 Simpson graduate and computer science major, Karson Richardson, he was able to secure and keep a position at Epic in Verona, Wisconsin before the pandemic had gotten into full swing. However, COVID-19 has still thrown difficulties in his way. 

“My start date was actually delayed. I was supposed to start two weeks before I did, but it got delayed because we needed to self-quarantine,” Richardson said.  

Learning the job online has also proven to be a difficulty for Richardson. 

“It’s definitely harder to learn things working from home because there is a lot of distractions and I find virtual learning very difficult because I am not an audible learner,” Richardson said. “I am a hands-on learner so I have caught onto things very slow.”