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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, May 14, 2020
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Coronavirus halts
dreams of fresh grads


Fresh graduate Hezron Pios wanted to travel after college and perhaps do brief volunteer work before settling into the real world.

But the dark reality of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has forced him and other graduates to halt their plans and reassess their dreams.

Pios, 21, a Communications graduate, admitted he was “frustrated big time” after learning that graduation and moving up ceremonies had been suspended in March due to the threat brought by the virus.

“For the first time in my student life, I was earnestly looking forward to attending the graduation and recognition rites because I was about to reap what I've sown...until now, I'm looking for a deliberate closure,” he said.

Pios, who was also the editor-in-chief of their school publication, said the pandemic had an impact on his plans after college.

“It gravely paralyzed my movement. Since the pandemic, I've developed recurring bouts of restlessness. My sense of purpose and zest slowly drifted away. The mix of my post-graduation blues, student organization duties, unresolved personal issues, and familial dynamics was tipped off balance. The timing of it all sickened me,” he lamented.

For now, he said he is taking it easy. He said he became workaholic even though he still has not joined the workforce.

“My loved ones are starting to get worried about me already. I guess their concern solidified my decision to focus more on re-orienting myself of my life goals without besmirching my overall health and well-being. I aim to have a productive hiatus in a way that I'll be placing myself in a continuous state of learning,” he said.


Senior high school graduate Joshua Villalobos was supposed to attend to his college applications this summer. However, it was set aside as he is more focused on surviving the pandemic rather than school.

“The thing is, we are very uncertain when it (pandemic) will end. So I’m not sure if I’m going to college this year, or in 2021 or in 2022,” he said.

Villalobos, 18, said the pandemic definitely affected every family’s economic condition. “It depletes whatever resources we have,” he added.

Just recently, he said he was able to land a job at a business process outsourcing firm in Bacolod so “I could at least save for uncertain days due to this pandemic.”

He recalled that he was very frustrated when his senior high school life ended abruptly and they were not able to hold their graduation.

“It is saddening to see your fellow graduates not having their moments, their most longed moment. It counts because some of us are not going to college anymore and this could be their last graduation ceremony. I just hope that all of us will have the serenity to accept the things we can't change,” Villalobos, a student activist, said.

He remained optimistic and hopeful that “we can win over this pandemic” and that he looks forward to seeing his friends after the crisis.*


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