As a Class of 2020 College Graduate

For me, 2020 would’ve been a year of great change even if there hadn’t been a global pandemic. It was the year I graduated college, moved states, moved into my first apartment, and started a “big girl” job.

Going through these big life changes all while the world changed dramatically due to COVID-19 made 2020 a year full of learning to deal with unfamiliarity and uncertainty. Here are my most insightful takeaways I learned from adapting to post-college life during this insane year:

1. Being mentally and/or physically engaged in the present is super important for maintaining mental health.


Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

This is pretty simple: my favorite pastries are chocolate croissants, and I’ve noticed a plethora of renowned bakeries near my neighborhood in San Francisco. I decided to try the chocolate croissants at each of these bakeries and write a bit about them.

Jane The Bakery

This is a woman-owned, woman-founded bakery between the Fillmore and Western Addition neighborhoods. It has the same founder as the “Jane” cafes (Jane on Fillmore, Jane on Larkin). This bakery is huge and sells a large collection of artisan bread loaves, pastries, and deserts. Their chocolate chip toffee cookie may be the best cookie I’ve ever had! They…

Photo by Andreas Strandman on Unsplash

I’ve always enjoyed browsing interior designs and looked forward to renting and decorating my own apartment, as I had lived in campus dorms throughout college. I never imagined my first apartment-hunting experience would be amidst a global pandemic.

Regardless, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to live in the Bay Area. I spent 2 full days apartment hunting, each day in different regions of the Bay Area: Silicon Valley (Palo Alto to Sunnyvale) and San Francisco (Pacific Heights to Mission Bay). …

The end of college is generally a season of uncertainty, filled with figuring out post-graduation plans, what life after college looks like, and other components of a “quarter-life crisis”. I was in the midst of this when COVID-19 started, spread, and erupted.

At first, while COVID-19 hadn’t reached the US, it was just a conversation topic. When it arrived in Washington and New York, it became a background worry. For me and probably all other University of Utah students, there was a jarringly defined point when COVID-19 began to directly affect our lives. During spring break, it was announced that…

Jiahui (Karen) Chen

AI Software Engineer @ Facebook. Mostly writings about graduating during COVID and new grad life in San Francisco. More on me:

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