Life after college: CSUSM graduate shares her experience


Photo courtesy of Lara Amin

Lara Amin: CSUSM graduate Lara Amin (‘20) tells her story of graduating in the midst of a pandemic.

Jaelyn Decena, A&E Editor

As we head into the spring 2021 semester, many soon-to-be graduates may find themselves in a panic. For the past 16 or so years, school is everything we have known. We’ve stayed up countless hours, made the commute, working hard to earn our degrees.Yet many of us are unsure of what’s to come once we have that degree. 

The Cougar Chronicle had the opportunity to interview recent 2020 graduate, Lara Amin, to see what life is like for her after attending CSUSM. Amin was a literature and writing studies major, and now attends San Diego State University to earn her MA in English. 

“I never considered myself a writer until college around my sophomore year. I’ve always been a literature major. Even as a young kid I always loved reading, but I never thought of myself as a writer until college. And I think it’s because we weren’t given a lot of opportunities for creative writing in public school or diverse readings,” said Amin. 

While Amin knew she had a passion for literature and education, it wasn’t until she was in college that she decided to pursue a degree in literature and writing studies. Amin had always pictured herself as a high school teacher, but had a change of heart once she got hands-on experience at a high school.

“Something felt kind of off to me. Something about the K-12 schedule didn’t feel right with my lifestyle, and that’s something you have to consider when looking for work: does this kind of work align with the kind of lifestyle you want to lead?” Amin said. 

Instead, Amin discovered that she wanted to become an English professor. 

“I did orientation for three years while at Cal State San Marcos so I had a lot of experience working with new incoming freshmen as well as transfer students. Through those interactions I realized I want to remain at the college level; it just felt right to me,” said Amin. 

Her life plans took a turn during her final semester at CSUSM. The COVID-19 pandemic left her, along with many other graduates, wondering how she can adjust her plans to fit the current state of the world. 

“[The pandemic] pushed me to reality. I had a rose-colored outlook on how life was gonna be after graduating. I planned on going into a graduate program, maybe moving out, being independent,” said Amin.

Regardless of the pandemic infringing on Amin’s plans of moving out and being independent, she still continued to pursue her MA at SDSU, even though the experience will not be the same. 

While Amin’s experience is similar to many others who graduated in the midst of a pandemic, she emphasizes the importance of recognizing and accepting things out of our control.

“Soon-to-be graduates: it is so okay to not know what you’re doing. I had this beautiful rose-colored plan that after I graduate: I’m gonna go straight to the MA program, move out, I’m gonna be independent, take some time off, become a professor, then pursue my PhD. Then the world hit hard, it hit so hard. You can’t just force things to work. You have to keep your mind open,” said Amin.

Jaelyn Decena is a transfer student from MSJC majoring in literature and writing studies with a double minor in film/TV production and film studies. She currently holds the position as the Arts & Entertainment section editor at The Cougar Chronicle. A fun fact about her is that she loves Disney and enjoys roller skating.