Margot Lee had so much to say. There was so much going through her mind.
Like many college seniors across the country, her classes were now virtual. Graduation was postponed. She went back to her hometown and moved back in with her family. She was heartbroken, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to send a message to other college seniors to both express herself and comfort others.
Lee soon published a video essay on Youtube entitled “An Open Letter to College Seniors (Re: Covid-19)”. The video rapidly became viral among thousands of college students. Less than two months later, the video had more than 130,000 views.
“Every comment on that video is a paragraph from students and their own experiences of having the year end so soon. Everyone wanted to have their voice heard,” she said.
The video caught the eye of Julia Haber, who graduated from Syracuse in 2018 and founded an entrepreneurial company called WAYV. Haber and Lee also had a previous working relationship in the past. At the time, Haber planned to build a brand new clubhouse-like working space on college campuses. But after watching Lee’s video, she changed her mind.
"I started to realize the whole world is shifting. Physical experiences were going to have to change to digital and resources and opportunities were going to have to find a way to be meaningful through the screen of your computer."
Haber bought the domain homefromcollege.co after watching Lee’s video. She began to envision a website that would connect college students to opportunities and enable them to pursue their passions outside of the classroom. Soon, a new business was set in motion, and Home From College began to take shape.
Lee became part of a team of 45 college students now focused on creating engaging content for college students. Haber is also developing a community portal that gives access to “microinternships”, to ensure students can still gain internship experience while working from home.
But Home from College is more than just a place to find opportunities for students. The website is targeted at creating connections for these students. It will have videos from industry experts from different fields to speak on topics of interest to college students, such as social media engagement or learning to brand themselves. There will also be the “2009 Club”, a mentorship program that connects 2020 graduates with graduates who have faced similar struggles during the recession in 2008 and 2009.
Even though senior year ended unexpectedly for Lee, she is glad that she is able to create content that college students can engage with.
“It’s not an easy transition, having to shift to online classes and everything. But it’s inspiring to be in an environment that puts more meaning on what it’s like to be home from college.”
As for Haber, she believes that despite the uncertainty of the future, college students still have an opportunity to grow connections and find things they are passionate about.
“Right now, humanity is coming together to find a solution to this pandemic. Even if things are hard, we can always turn to each other for support. That’s what I hope that Home From College does for everyone,” she said.
Feature image: Julie Haber '18 and Margot Lee '20