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Washington State University

An unexpected year

For new WSU graduate Crystal Lobos, 2020 was filled with ups and downs.

At the start of her last semester at WSU, Crystal Lobos said goodbye to her grandmother, who had contracted COVID-19.

“The funeral was literally the first days of the semester,” Lobos said. “It didn’t feel real.”

Lobos flew to California to bury her grandmother. She spent time with her grandfather and aunt, who also contracted the disease but had been released from the hospital.

“I’ve been trying to catch up in my classes ever since then. It’s just been, ‘Go, go, go!’” Lobos said. “It’ll be nice once this semester is over so I can digest what happened.”

Lobos is a strategic communication major minoring in women’s studies. She and her fellow graduates celebrated virtually Dec. 12 at WSU’s commencement ceremony.

“This was a really unexpected year for me,” Lobos said. “I thought I was going to graduate and everything was going to be great. Instead, I lost my grandma and I struggled more in school than I usually do.

“Life isn’t going to go the way you think it will, but hey, I’m graduating, so hopefully there’s going to better things coming for me soon.”

With a semester plagued by loss of loved ones as well as milestones, Lobos said one of the things she missed was Cougar Football Saturdays.

“I’m honestly so sad that we didn’t have football this year, my last semester,” Lobos said. “All the memories I made with my friends, all the friends I’ve made here … I loved going to the games.”

Lobos’ parents moved to the United States from El Salvador when they were teenagers. Ever since she was a child, her parents told her she was going to college.

“They just wanted better opportunities for me than they had,” Lobos said. “I’m thankful for it. I love the college that I went to and I’m grateful for the memories.”

Lobos had a rough start at WSU and ended up leaving school for two years, but eventually came back, switching her major from hospitality business management to communication.

“I wasn’t getting great grades and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I just was going through a hard time in my life,” Lobos said. “When I got back into WSU, I completely turned my GPA around. I think a lot of people didn’t think I was going to go back to school, but I did.”

After graduation, Lobos moved back home to Spokane, and she hopes to work for a public relations firm.

“I feel like I have no idea what I want to do, which is scary but kind of exciting at the same time,” Lobos said.

Alysen Boston