Life After Grad School
Four years have flown since I first created this portfolio site as a project for my graphic design class while studying media and management at The New School. After graduating with my MA degree, I continued to work in non-profit at the same organization, AHRC New York City, helping people with developmental and intellectual disabilities work on their personal goals. Eventually, I got promoted to the role of Community Support Supervisor at a day program in August 2017. By then I had been working for the agency for five years—just in time for me to say to myself, “Well, you’re in the same field but now you’re doing something different.” I went from being a Medicaid Service Coordinator to being a manager running an adult day services program.
It’s not a role in publishing or media per se, I thought to myself when I got the job, but I can still put my media management and design skills to good use and help people reach their potential. Ah, the beauty of studying an interdisciplinary subject that can be applied to any aspect of life.
After all, “design” is just an elegant word for “problem-solving.” It’s a process of thinking that leads to the creation of objects, elements, technologies, and methods of implementations for activities and events.
Which makes me wonder what’s going to come next as the governors in each state face the ultimate design challenges of our time: addressing public health and reimagining how to reopen society for business again amid a global pandemic.
Not quite a zombie apocalypse…
Right now, as I am typing this on April 30th, 2020, it has officially been 42 days since NY State on PAUSE started.
A worldwide highly contagious, incurable type of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has been ravaging people’s respiratory systems and wreaking havoc on public health. You’d think that COVID-19 sounds like a classified file that only government agencies know about, but it’s a disease that has taken millions of lives and has affected the economies of multiple countries. The virus attacks the most vulnerable first: those who are elderly and/or immunocompromised due to chronic medical conditions. It’s not quite the zombie apocalypse that everyone imagined during the pre-COVID days, but it’s bad. (I’m going to start using this phrase as if it’s already a historical marker to describe particular time periods before the outbreak). The U.S. currently has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world. New York State is the most affected due to our population density—we have over 19 million people in the state, 8.33 million of which live and work in New York City, including yours truly.
Every single day, I thank the powers that be in the universe that my family and I are healthy and safe at this time and that we’re still employed with a roof over our heads. A few colleagues and some of the people supported at my organization, however, weren’t so lucky. May their souls rest in peace and their memories live on in the hearts of all who knew them.
I’ve been working remotely from home since March 20th, wondering how anything would get done without access to most of our organization’s portal links or the folders on my work computer. After a little more than a month, our wonderful IT department and compliance team have figured out a way for us to get access to at least the portal links to complete data entry, document sharing, scheduling virtual meetings, and email correspondence. They even gave me an upgraded Zoom account to run meetings and host programming activities remotely for people whom we support who live at home or with their families.
Has it been easier living at home and working remotely?
You’re sharing the WiFi with your parents and your two younger sisters, who also need it for either work or college classes. You’re working around their schedule as much as they’re tip-toeing around yours. You’re even more anxious when that wonderful time of the month is approaching as you try not to freak out about running out of menstrual supplies. You’re drinking more water and tea to distract your mind from the fact that your stomach is growling for your attention to fill it with snacks.
You wake up at odd hours and take more time to relax to get your mind off of (1) work and (2) the rampant stupidity of our racist, misogynist, ignoramus president, and his deranged far-right cult followers. Honestly, the amount of anti-lockdown protesters running amok throughout the country like brainless anarchists screaming disrespectful and illogical comments at our healthcare workers is astounding.
The only reprieve I’ve been finding each day are through the following:
- Listening to Elvis Duran & The Morning Show on Z100 each morning
- Watching Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings on the coronavirus situation in New York State.
- As of writing this post, we’re looking at May 15th as a possible re-opening date for “unpausing” and gradually lifting the lockdown in some counties, depending on whether we have 14 consecutive days of decreased hospitalization and death rates as per CDC guidelines. We still need to increase capacity for both diagnostic and antibody testing, and it may still take up to 18 months until we are able to get vaccines for everyone.
- Reading articles and newsletters about tech, fashion, business, and finance each morning:
- Listening to jazz music and chill lo-fi beats on Spotify or YouTube
- Listening to audiobooks for free thanks to the Libby by Overdrive app
- Watching tutorials about productivity and bullet journaling
- I just started a couple of digital bullet journals with GoodNotes 5
- Converting my restless energy into exercise with a mini elliptical that I keep under my desk while I’m working and which I can use while standing up when I want a more intense workout
- Yoga stretches in the evening with meditation
- Updating each of my planners
- One for scheduling meetings and to-do tasks at work
- One for personal use (budgeting and my spending habits)
- One for creative, editorial, and business projects for my digital magazine, Verge of Verse
- Coloring in my Pride & Prejudice: A Coloring Classic book
- Virtual happy hours with friends via FaceTime, Zoom, or HouseParty
- And of course, updating my resume and portfolio site with new content and a fresh layout. It’s a work-in-progress, as am I.
Having shared this list, I’m going to put together a quarantine resource list for Verge of Verse in the meantime. I will end this post with a quote, which speaks of hope and survival:
And because we’re trying to look ahead while enduring what feels like a dystopian society within a science-fiction novel, wondering what life will be like post-COVID once we eventually resume what once was “business as usual,” I thought it was pretty relevant to include this quote, too:
May the odds be in your favor.The Hunger Games