Post-grad plans paused as college students are left in coronavirus limbo

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Graduating from college is usually a launching point into the real world. But for those reaching that milestone during the coronavirus pandemic, some are forced to opt for plan B.

La Salle University student Mary Eyde was ready to graduate and head to Benin, West Africa, in June to join the Peace Corps.

“Going into the Peace Corps is a dream of mine, and this is something that I never thought would happen,” she said of the pandemic. “It was nowhere in my mind to think, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll go through a global pandemic and I will have no idea what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.’ ”

In the meantime, Eyde hopes to get her old summer job back at a golf club, though it hasn’t reopened yet. 

Peace Corps travel is postponed until Sept. 30, at the earliest. 

Like many college students, Ben Bruchman was sent home from La Salle in mid-March due to coronavirus. A few weeks later, he was accepted as a Fulbright scholar in Germany. 

At the bottom of the letter was an asterisk, saying plans are changing hourly — stay tuned. It is now postponed until January.

“I’m still really happy to have been selected. … It was one of the brightest lights, the brightest moments in a sea of dark with the quarantine,” he said. “But in the back of my mind, I was a little concerned about what was going to happen.”

Bruchman said he grieves for his fellow graduating students.

“Even the people who theoretically had a plan no longer have a plan,” he added. “And the people who didn’t have a plan are just more confused than they were.”

Also like many college students, Bruchman is considering grad school as a backup plan.

La Salle will host a virtual celebration for the Class of 2020 on May 9, though school officials note an official commencement ceremony will happen at a later date when it is safe again.