Interviews that inspire, educate and motivate
April 15, 2020

COVID-19 & College - Graduating Senior Anne Cox

Show Notes

In this mini-series,  we hear how the COVID-19 virus is impacting and changing colleges and universities.  For this bonus episode, I interview graduating college senior Anne Cox.  Anne is a Digital Media Innovation major in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University.  You might recognize Anne from our trailer - she's the audio engineer and multimedia editor for this podcast.  

Key takeaways

  • Some graduating college seniors face an uncertain future
  • Find a company or organization you want to work for, try and get in at any level, then move up
  • Recognize and value essential workers at all levels
  • Practice self care during this time
  • You can find a story everywhere you look
  • Use free time to update your LinkedIn profile, resume and portfolio
  • Embrace technology

Please share, subscribe and review this podcast.  You can connect with me via email at or on Instagram and Twitter @judyoskam

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Judy Oskam:   0:03
Welcome to Stories of Change and Creativity. I'm Judy Oskam. I'm a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. Throughout my career as a television journalist, video producer, PR professional and educator, I've always been drawn to stories, stories about people and how they deal with change and embrace creativity. Hope you enjoy listening.  

Judy Oskam:   0:29
This bonus episode features an interview with Texas State University graduating senior Anne Co.  You might recognize Anne from our trailer. She's the audio engineer and multimedia specialist working on this podcast.   Anne talks about change, creativity and how she's handling the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Anne Cox:   0:52
I think right now it's really just a lot of uncertainty for, like, what's gonna happen in the next few months? Because, I mean, it's not only that I'm graduating and I have to find a job pretty soon. It's also that my lease ends in August. I don't know, like where I'll have a job, whether it's in Austin or like if I'm staying in San Marcos or even if I'm moving out of state, which probably seems like not a likely option with everything going on. But I just I don't know any concrete answers right now.  I feel like I just have this, like time bomb of like when I have to be out of my apartment and, like, ready to go.  So it's a lot of it's a lot of nervousness. It's a lot of uncertainty. It's just we're just we're getting through it -- I've got a few months to figure it all out,

Judy Oskam:   1:37
right? And I think to, you know, talk a little bit about your major and what you're taking in class and how if you're seeing any innovation coming out of this crazy time,

Anne Cox:   1:48
Yes, well, I actually am so so grateful for being a Mass Comm Major because I feel like my professors were really, really prepared for this. Like they already know all of the technology that exists to, like move into an online workspace. And as much as I might complain about so having to wake up, but like 9:30 in the morning from a Zoom class, I really need that because I need the structure to make it seem like, Oh, I'm still in school. I still need to get these assignments done. I'm still seeing my professors face like every Tuesday and Thursday. So or Monday, Wednesday. So I need to get all these assignments done.

Judy Oskam:   2:25
If you're looking ahead at jobs and job opportunities, Are you seeing some innovation coming out of media related positions from this situation, and how are you kind of transitioning for that?

Anne Cox:   2:39
I I know. I mean, I just I know everyone's working from home right now. We had in my multi media journalism class a guest speaker from I think it was the Austin American Statesman and he he said that he worked from home a lot anyways, he just worked remotely so this wasn't a big change for him, but everyone's online now. Everyone's some he mentioned there was like a 70 person zoom meeting that he was a part of, and he just had to close out because it was too many people. Um so I think I think it's a bit of a learning curve, but we're all getting used to it, and I think it's really interesting that it is possible. It's just like good to know that that but we progressed so far in society that we can now do this and everything's OK if it's online and as far as creativity goes as a freelance audio editor, I'm really hoping a lot of people start making podcasts so that I can assist them with their editing or get them online or something like that, Because, uh and I mean, now is the time to try all those crazy ideas you've been wanting to do.

Judy Oskam:   3:42
Well, speaking of that, I know. You know, some people have talked about I should be productive during this time period. I mean, have you faced any of that as far as how to structure your day and we're all sort of at home, you know?

Anne Cox:   3:56
Yes. Every day is a constantly tug of war with myself because I on the one end feel really, really guilty when I don't spend time like updating my resume, updating my portfolio, my LinkedIn applying for jobs, working on the projects, that are due like a week, two weeks from now, Like I feel really, really bad. When I'm not working on something because I mean, like I said before, there is all this time to do it, so why am I'm not doing it. But on the other hand, that's no one really knows how to navigate this situation. So self care is also really, really important and like I don't know about everyone else. But I'm tired all the time, and I think it's because of the change of routine like my body's just doesn't know how to react to it yet. So also making sure that you're taking care of yourself like you can spend a day binge watching Netflix if you really want to, if you feel like you need to.   Like your projects, um, LinkedIn's not going anywhere and we don't know how long this will last. So taking a few days for self care is fine. I just I need to get better at telling myself that

Judy Oskam:   4:59
Well, and I think to I think you feel that pressure of graduating and yet graduating to what --you're just I think they're sort of that unknown. My daughter is graduating seeing your too and all I can say is, just hang in there because you know things will change. And what advice do you have for other graduating seniors about this, this global pandemic that were in?

Anne Cox:   5:23
I actually... so two of the guest speakers we had in Dr Cindy Royal's class last night. They really dispelled a lot of my anxiety. They both worked at USAA. They both started, like, lower level. And they said that it really doesn't like pick a place that you wanna work out, pick a company that you really like. And it doesn't matter what your job title is, even if you're like Customer Sales Rep, Customer Service Rep. Um, it doesn't matter, like just get your foot in the door. And then there's just endless opportunity to move up from there. And like the skills that you've built in college as a Mass Comm student, like digital media, coding all of those things. Those will help you to where you need to go, once you have that foot in the door. So it doesn't matter what the beginning job title is.

Judy Oskam:   6:10
Well, I mean, there are jobs available at places like Walmart and Amazon, and I think you have to look for the right job that is available now. And I think that's great advice for for students. I was telling my daughter that last night I said you might think about H E. B. You might think about Amazon and some of those companies that are hiring now just to do just that. Get your foot in the door. I think students think Well, I don't know that I want to start here or there, but think that is really good advice. You know, you and I talked earlier this week about the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Can you touch on that a little bit?

Anne Cox:   6:48
Um, I mean, it is a virus. It will eventually leave the U S. I mean, we've already seen what it's done in China and how they're already recovering right now. And I think, like yesterday or two days ago was the first day where they had no new cases of corona virus, so that was a huge deal for them. So we've seen how it works already, so we know that it will end. It won't last forever. So, like, people will be hiring again.  There. there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just don't exactly know how many more months it'll be. And in the meantime, it's creativity time. It's time to work on all of those skills that you've been wanting to work on or learn a new one. Or I mean, like I said, update your LinkedIn, your resume, your portfolio. Get all of those ready for when the restrictions are over and you can go outside and you can go into these places and say, Here's my resume. I'd like a job. So now is a really, really good time to just prepare for all of that.

Judy Oskam:   7:46
Well, speaking of the time to spend, do you think ...What do you think the new normal is gonna be when we get out of here? That's what I'm wondering. What, what to college students and what do you guys thinking about?

Anne Cox:   7:58
The 'New Normal'? I've been thinking a lot about a this one. I hope that we're all paying attention to how this was handled by, everyone. By how like apartment complexes, whether they're doing rent freezers or not,  like pizza delivery drivers,  like which workers, um, were essential and how they actually were compensated for that. Because a lot of essential workers are like college students, high school students. They're like the fast food workers,  they're the  grocery store workers, they're the pizza delivery drivers, and they're not making you know, like 40 k a year. They're making, like, maybe $9 an hour, if even that. So I think it's really interesting how we saw just kind of how our society is structured and how who the real essential workers are

Judy Oskam:   8:43
Now, you were working before talk about your work and has COVID  impacted your work life as well?

Anne Cox:   8:52
Absolutely. It's heavily impacted my work life. Before all of this happened, I had a part time job with a locally owned toy store in Gruene. There were three locations. I worked mostly at the Gruene location and the Wimberley location, but they were a small business. Um, like, I know the owner. I would see her all the time. Um, and they have closed because of the lock down orders in New Braunfels. Two of the locations are completely closed. One of them is still open doing curbside orders, which I think is great. A lot of people need puzzles and board games right now, so they're taking orders over the phone and just bagging up the items and then like leaving them out side the door for customers to pick up. Um but I don't work there anymore. I stopped working there. I want to say like it was before school started back up. So, like maybe three weeks ago. They have, like, two employees that are doing the online orders, but everyone else is out of a job. Um, and I'm really lucky, because I thankfully have parents that are helping me out right now. But if I did not have that help, I mean, I would be out of rent money in, like, two months. So for a lot of people who depend on, uh, who need to be at work to pay rent, it's a really, really scary time for them. And I'm I'm really worried about a lot of my friends. One of my friends posted on her snapshot yesterday that she was applying at McDonald's because she has to pay her rent and she was out of a job. So it's crazy.

Judy Oskam:   10:33
Yeah I mean, you know, back to what what we've talked about before. The essential worker.  Can you touch on that a little bit? That that that, uh, we're seeing a lot of these beyond the health care and first responders, of course. But do you think we'll have a new definition of essential and have a little more value for those jobs. Moving  forward.

Anne Cox:   10:52
I hope so. I really hope that this puts it into perspective to everyone that we need to be paying these people a lot more like, because when something like this happens, they are the essential people. We need grocery stores. We we don't need fast food, but we really, really like it way, especially delivery, because no one wants to go out right now. They're so, so important and they're out there like risking their lives basically to deliver us a pizza. They're not well, they weren't being compensated for it as much as I think they should be, personally.  I know a lot of people have gotten, um, risk pay, like hazard pay during all of this. But I think it's it's really important that, um, we we look at what's happening now when we see who still is out working, going to work every day and we appreciate them a lot more when this is all over. I think the pay standard should definitely stay.

Judy Oskam:   11:51
Yeah, great point. Well, and how are you staying connected with your family and friends during this? Because if you're sort of sheltering as best you can in place,  your classes are online. How are how are you staying in touch?

Anne Cox:   12:04
I called my mom yesterday, actually, but I don't I don't see my parents like once a month or anything. We live four hours away from each other, so it's not strange for me to not be seeing them and just talking to them over the phone. But I I'm also really lucky because I live with two people and I'm not just quarantined by myself. I would probably be way more sad if I was, but one of my best friends is my roommate and we hang out all the time. So that's that's really, really nice. But I've also had a lot of fun lately with doing group FaceTimes.  Me and my friends will all get on and play Kings Cup,  play a fun game over FaceTime. I think that's it's really silly, Um, but it's what we have to do because we can't see each other, but it's also it's it's kind of fun.

Judy Oskam:   12:57
What is all of that say about the connection digitally versus in person? Do you think that's going to change the way people think about digital and then in person activities and events?

Anne Cox:   13:12
I think that after this is all over, I think that we're not gonna take for granted in person events anymore. I think we're definitely gonna show up and show out to most of the things were invited to at least for a while, but I think it's it says a lot about, like the younger generation, how we can just adapt to this so quickly and, like, get on all of the apps and services to still talk with our friends like never underestimate like a Gen. Z being able to talk to their friends, they will make it happen. I think that's really fun. And my mom, I think, is a silly example because she hates technology. She despises it. And she is like a third grade Math teacher or English teacher. I can't remember what C subject she teaches, but she has to record these videos now for her class, and my dad had to come over and, like, show her how everything works. Um and she was like, I hate it, I don't want them to see me. Why did they have to see me? And I was like you have to get used to it. It was kind of like, ha ha , now you have to use technology-- like you can't ignore it

Judy Oskam:   14:18
Exactly. And I'm having FaceTime coffee with my mother, who's 88 and she texts me in the morning whenever she's up and says 'coffee.' So we FaceTime with my brother and we brought him into it. Now I have on my phone, I have a group called Coffee Talk, and that's our FaceTime group. So I think that connection is really, really important. And I just do wonder, um, you know, you guys air so digitally savvy, and I just wonder what it means for the in- person once we do get to where we can connect and you guys have done so well with online classes, where do you see education going forward in the future with online and the mix of online and on campus?

Anne Cox:   15:04
I said before I despise online classes.  I always avoided taking them all four years of college because I need that in-person in-class a structure to make sure that I stay on top of things. I actually hoped that for general online classes with with the in person class is still happening. I hope that online classes adopt the Zoom. Everyone checking in for zoom during a class meet. I hope they do that because I think that's so important to see your professor's face at least once a week. You just remember like Oh, I'm in school. I need to get things done because I know, definitely like online classes. You're more likely to forget that you have an assignment versus an in-person class.

Judy Oskam:   15:49
I do think some of the skills you guys are learning about how to communicate this way are so valuable because I'm hearing from business leaders, this has changed everything moving forward because companies can do business this way and save on on all kinds of travel costs and building costs, they might not need a building moving forward if everyone can work remotely. So I do think there's a lot of innovation coming out of this. I did want to ask you. I mean, look, looking ahead five years. Where do you see yourself Ann in five years, having gone through this business?

Anne Cox:   16:25
Ah, I wish I had an answer. I have a lot of hopes for where I will be five years from now. I genuinely don't know what it will be. I hope that I have moved from San Marcos and I'm living in Austin, uh, or somewhere like Austin. And I'm working out company, not just doing freelance, and, um, I'm making enough money to pay my own rent. That's the goal.

Judy Oskam:   16:52
There you go. There you go. Well, how do you think you'll look back on this time, period? It really, really is a period of history that we have never known before.

Anne Cox:   17:04
It's like a fever dream. You know, I feel like we're all gonna look back on this time, period and just be like 'we did that' ..'that happened' and we all lived through it. Like that's That's crazy. I think it's gonna be once all this is over and we get back to normal, it's it's gonna be like, we'll kind of forget and then you know it'll be one of those moments were like, you're drunk eating pizza with your friends at 2 a.m. And you're like, 'remember when we couldn't leave our apartments?, what was that? But I also I really hope that people remember this time that we all been in this together with, like, kind of solid solidarity, and, um

Judy Oskam:   17:47
and we all made it through and we kept moving forward. And that's something that I really want people to be thinking of. See the innovation, if they can, and find a way to to use those that that learning that we went through and create things that are better than ever before. That's what I'm hoping for.

Anne Cox:   18:09
I, um I actually thought it was really interesting the other day in and my journalism class. There is a story everywhere you look, which I'm honestly a little appreciative for, because I wasn't sure what all my stories we're gonna be before this happened for the class. And  there's just so even though, like I can't really leave my house. I mean, I can interview anyone over Zoom, and there's just so much to cover because this is worldwide. Well, that's that's good for journalism students,

Judy Oskam:   18:41
It is, and I'm hoping that maybe it makes us have a little more grace and compassion for everyone in all their different situations --students, teachers, all different levels of workers. And I'm hoping it it makes us kind of wake up and see some of that,  

Judy Oskam:   19:02
Anne -  I want to thank you for chatting. I just think it's important. I think graduating seniors, especially,  you have a unique perspective, and I think it's important that we hear your voices and you're definitely dealing with change and creativity. And that's the topic of this podcast. So I want to thank you for your time.  

Anne Cox:   19:20
Thank you for having me.  

Judy Oskam:   19:22
Thank you for listening to Stories of Change and Creativity. Check out the show notes for more information about this episode.  You can find this podcast on any of your favorite streaming platforms. Please subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast with a friend. If you have a story to tell or know someone who does, reach out to me at or DrJudyOskam at gmail dot com. That's D-RJudy Oskam at gmail dot com. Thanks for listening