In our Navigating 2020 as a Gen Zer series, we explore the personal stories of JUV members who recount arguably the most chaotic, yet formative year for Generation Z.
My 2020 started in March. Everything before then was overshadowed by the months following.
Within four days, my university mandated online classes and told students they could stay on campus, only to reverse course and kick everyone out of housing. Safe to say, it was a great time to be a Resident Assistant (/s).
In the days following, after learning I lost my housing and job, I tried to figure out how to stay where I had lived full-time for the last two years. Ultimately, I made the difficult decision to move home from Boston to Los Angeles, scattering my belongings in friend’s apartments and family friends’ basements.
I say this not to share a sob story – I was privileged enough to have the support I needed and another place to go. I share this to say that whatever we’ve gone through as Gen Zers, we have all been going through together. I was not the only student to be kicked out of my campus home; I was one of millions. I was not the only one to lose a job due to the pandemic, and I sadly won’t be the last one.
Now, I have spent three months on campus, as one of many, braving a new experiment for education.
While my campus reopened select housing for a small population of students, I jumped at the opportunity to return in mid-August.
Entering my last semester of undergrad, I didn’t want to lose the independence that I had gained. However, it has been a more challenging semester than ever before, especially coming back as an RA. We have been asked to knock on doors for students who haven’t been testing compliant, are still required to program all virtually, and, in my case, have had to be in direct contact with many, many students, since I work in a community that assigns physical keys.
Despite some concerns I had, being back on campus has been fantastic: I get tested for COVID in under five minutes every three days, I have my favorite class all in-person (distanced and with masks, of course), and most importantly, I have re-established the ~vibes~. It was hard to feel not only away from people, but from the place that has changed me so much and shaped me into the person I am today.
Thinking about my graduation next month, I am terrified. And with a couple of months left to spare, I’m sure this year isn’t done with us yet. But the one thing I am not worried about? Doing it alone.
With budding optimism despite all evidence to the contrary, I can’t wait for what the future holds.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at email@example.com if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z.
Gabe García is the Senior Director of People, Inclusion, & Accounts at JUV. They can probably be found admiring someone’s dog, ordering Japanese takeout, or editing one of their slam poems that never seem to be finished! You can find them on Instagram @gabefgarcia ✨