Eye on KELOLAND: Opening a new chapter during a pandemic


Many college students in KELOLAND have wrapped up an unusual semester.

For some it’s time to enter a new chapter in life during this uncertain time.

Madeline Patzer wants to work in an emergency room or a long term care setting someday.

The Lake Area Tech graduate is completing her Associate’s Degree in nursing.

Like many students across KELOLAND, she had to switch to online classes during the semester because of concerns over COVID-19.

It was difficult in the beginning.

“With nursing, we study 24/7 it feels like, so not being able to meet up with a group of friends and be able to study really was a huge mental factor. It wasn’t just the studying. It was the going to class and seeing everybody, asking questions,” Lake Area Technical Institute Graduate Madeline Patzer said.

She’s now doing her preceptorship, which means she has to work alongside a nurse, but those hours have been cut from 144 to 60.

Meanwhile, Dakota State University graduate Lindsey Vogel is headed down a different career path.

She just graduated with degrees in professional accounting and finance.

“I like numbers more than I like words. They make more sense,” Dakota State University Graduated Lindsey Vogl said.

Her particular classes this semester were online from the beginning, so she didn’t experience a disruption in the classroom.

But she did miss going to campus for meetings and activities.

“It just doesn’t really feel like it’s the end of the semester,” Vogl said.

Vogl already has a job lined up at a firm in Minneapolis this fall, but it’s unknown if she’ll work from home or in the office.

While Vogl is on track to start her job on time, she knows some graduates are facing uncertainty.

Her advice is to remember even during a pandemic graduating college is still an exciting time in someone’s life.

“Most of us don’t have any huge commitments tying us down. You can go anywhere, become anything. That’s still there. It’s just with a little more uncertainty maybe. Just to remember that there are opportunities and they’re just going to look a little different now and you maybe just have to look a little harder for them,” Vogl said.

Patzer has been doing her best to stay optimistic.

“Nobody can control anything that’s going on so I’m just trying to stay positive and do the best I can,” Patzer said.

For a look at job openings in South Dakota head to KELOLANDemployment.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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