ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The face of a Long Island teenager will be on newsstands across the nation next week.
From her volunteer work with a youth power organization that had to be scaled back, to her studies that went virtual, Joseph is now a symbol of her generation, enduring “The Lost Year,” according to an article in the magazine. Her image is emblazoned on the cover.
“It could have been anyone on the cover. It didn’t have to be me. But no matter what it would still be the same thing. We lost a really important time in our life,” Joseph said.
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Her story is representative of high school seniors across the nation. The 17-year-old was furloughed for months from her after-school job, her mother too, wiping out college savings.
“I didn’t get to take my SATs and they kept getting canceled. Am I going to go to college? Am I going to have a job? Am I going to be able to contact my guidance counselor?” Joseph said.
With guidance difficult to navigate and college tours canceled, the uncertainty was impacting her dreams.
And mental health, too.
“Not being around your friends and just sitting at home on your laptop and then going back to sleep every day. It makes you depressed. It makes your fell lonely, and it makes you feel unmotivated,” Joseph said.
Time reporter Katie Reilly says students like Joseph, who are rethinking college, account for a record 13% drop in enrollment.
“Low-income and first-generation students have been disproportionately impacted by that drop, so it’s possible that the students who are losing access to college right now are those who might most benefit from getting this degree,” Reilly said.
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The article concludes applying to college was never easy for most students. The coronavirus pandemic has made it nearly impossible.
“The pandemic has hurt their parents’ job prospects, hurt their own job prospects, and the ability to afford a school has now become unattainable,” said Kendra Cornejo-Munoz of the youth power project Make the Road New York.
The lost year will not derail college for Joseph, but she’ll stay close to home at a CUNY or SUNY school to save money. She said she hopes her story brings awareness.
“A lot of people in my community, and in communities similar to mine, are on a confused path right now, because they don’t have the resources that other students would have to go to college and to afford it,” she said.
She said it was a surprise she landed on the cover, but it achieves one goal of making her mother proud.
“Being on the cover of Time at 17 years old, I think, ‘I did that,'” Joseph said.
As a symbol of youthful resilience.