Makela Rodgers - University Of Southern California

3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New Year! After a long year of adversities, these three words were especially meaningful when the clock struck twelve and the world entered 2020. This year not only marked a new decade, but a new chapter of my life. I had plans for 2020; plans to study abroad with all expenses paid; plans to spend the summer in the city of angels with free housing and a good paying job; and plans to successfully transition into adulthood as I signed my first lease for the fall. All of my plans reflected my determination to succeed. I had grown tremendously from the challenges I faced in 2019, and assured myself that I would be able to overcome any obstacles I may face in the following year. Yet, the world was thrown a curveball and I, along with so many others, struck out.

The global pandemic created hurdles outside of my control, and suddenly, all of the plans I had worked so hard for were at risk. My plans to study abroad interfered with international travel bans and quarantines issued worldwide. The status of my summer job was put in question, as COVID-19 continues to spread my employer will be forced to either cut hours or cut jobs. Moreover, as colleges across the nation feared the virus spreading across their campus, my university followed and I became just another casualty. After being influenced by the possibility of a prorated housing refund, I made the difficult decision to relocate from my dorm mid-semester. This rendered out-of-pocket costs, leading me to face the scariest aspect of this pandemic: financial insecurity. As my only source of financial support, I must continue to provide for myself. Without promise of a job, I have been actively searching for alternative employment, yet COVID-19 continues to decrease the number of jobs available.

While I am constantly battling the day-to-day consequences of this virus, I realize these impacts have the potential to produce long-term repercussions. Through studying abroad, I was prepared to earn the credits I need to graduate on time and I expected my summer income to help pay my rent in the fall. Without either, I am at risk for delayed graduation, future housing insecurity, bad credit, and potential loan debt. In an attempt to counteract the negative impacts of COVID-19, all of the decisions I’ve made have been gambles.

However, rather than crossing my fingers and praying to hit the jack-pot, my hope is to lower the stakes.


Makela Rodgers is originally from East Lansing, Michigan and they are currently a sophomore at the University of Southern California. Double-majoring in Public Policy and Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change, they intend to their my Bachelor’s degree to secure a career in Educational Policy and Non-Profit Management.