EUGENE, Ore. -- If not for the pandemic, many high school seniors would be searching for a summer job right now, hoping to bring in some extra cash before embarking on the next stage of life.
Now, students are left wondering what the next chapter holds.
“My plan was to work throughout the summer, and then obviously go off to college,” said Ana Papen-Gould, a senior at Sheldon High School. “But I was furloughed off my job until they open up again.”
This has been a reality for many students like Papen-Gould, who expected to be saving money for college but is finding herself in a time requiring patience and optimism.
“Right now, I'm just here taking care of my sister who's younger, and then hopefully by sometime in the near future a job will open up,” Papen-Gould said.
Isaac Vasquez is also a senior at Sheldon High School. He said he is focusing on looking forward and preparing for college, but his decision did shift over the months.
“I was originally planning to possibly go down to California,” Vasquez said. “With everything that's going on, it kind of changed my perspective of, ‘Is it really worth it if I'm going to be taking online classes in the fall, paying $25,000 for tuition where I can be just paying 10?’”
Vasquez will be attending Oregon State University in the fall and also reflected on the toll the pandemic is having on the job market.
“More people are going to be more cautious about who they interact with,” Vasquez said. “So those jobs are definitely going to be more limited with who can get them if people even want business anymore.”
Papen-Gould said that it is important to remain positive and to make the best of every moment.
“I’m focusing on what I can control, and what I can get ready for college -- and then not trying to overtake it much more than that,” Papen-Gould said.