Gladys graduates college and gets ready to enter the workforce in COVID

After living as a refugee in Burundi for 13 years, Gladys is no stranger to uncertainty. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during that time she and her family often wondered about their future, where money would come from, if they would be able to afford food. Due to her family’s limited financial means, she was unable to attend school for several years. After coming to the U.S. in 2013, she was able to learn English, attend school, and go to college.  

Now, about to graduate from Central Connecticut State University, Gladys is again faced with uncertainty as she prepares to enter the workforce during the time of COVID. “That is a million-dollar question and I have a zero-dollar answer,” she says with a laugh when asked about her post-graduation plans. While she laments being unable to walk in her graduation, something she dreamed of as a child, she remains defiantly optimistic about what comes after. 

“One thing that I do know is that I have to keep my mind open,” Gladys says when she talks about career possibilities. Being able to help her community is important to her, so she is excited about all of the opportunities for her to give back.  For now, Gladys says that she is “keeping myself available. I have to get ready to learn, be able to take action when it’s needed, and share and contribute to my community.”

In a future that may look like a question mark to many of us, Gladys sees only possibilities — to learn more, to get involved, and to contribute towards creating a better world. When considering her past and what she’s overcome to get to this moment, one can’t help feeling that a future full of possibility is not an uncertainty, but a sure thing.