EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on various aspects of every day life such as jobs and education.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) knows students are juggling the pandemic while maybe looking for jobs and trying to get through their current semester.
Struggles UTRGV graduate student, Aaliyah Gonzales Zepeda, 24, knows well.
She says between constant disinfecting and using hand sanitizer, she has had to find ways to continue her every day of reading textbooks, zoom classes and caring for her 2-year-old son.
While being stuck at home gave Zepeda time to reflect on her goals and motivated her to go for her Masters in Communication, the virus made embarking on the journey a bit more overwhelming.
“I think the virus heightened my role as a mother and wife and made me extra cautious and observant of everything around me. I felt it hard to study when alerts of hospital capacity were ringing on my cell phone while in the middle of reading a chapter,” said Zepeda, adding support from loved ones is what has kept her going.
Besides being under constant alert, Zepeda, who is employed at a local gym, powered through the shutdown of her workplace. Zepeda adds she was lucky enough to still receive some payment until it was able to reopen.
However, UTRGV knows that not every student has had the opportunity to keep their job, which is why they say they are not only helping students financially but also by giving students the tools to find a job amid the pandemic.
UTRGV’s Career Center is offering online services to students and alumni having trouble finding work in the unstable economic climate.
“Whenever a student needs assistance in reviewing a resume, speaking about what they can do to pre-plan their career or to identify career or internship opportunities, they can set up an appointment virtually with one of our career advisors,” said Ronnie Garcia, Assistant Director for Employer Relations at UTRGV.
Additionally, the university has provided help to their students by making more jobs available for the summer and through the Student Emergency Fund and Summer Relief Program.
Resources that students like Zepeda have used to help relieve some of the burden faced during the pandemic.
“I believe that UTRGV has done an outstanding job in terms of reaching out to its students. I receive emails daily not only about financial aid, but how we can help ourselves through internships and campus jobs,” said Zepeda.
With the Fall semester just around the corner, UTRGV has listed help on their website that will be available for students to utilize if in need.
Zepeda mentions she wants her classmates to use the help.
“Utilize and exhaust every single resource available to you. Whether it be financial aid or staff, they are both there for your success as a student,” she said. “Ask all the questions, ask every question, read the emails sent to you and jump on those opportunities immediately.”