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December 24, 2020 
Valeria Murguia, 21, a university student, poses for a photograph in a field near her home in McFarland,... 
The Wider Image: Scarred by 2020, Gen Z looks to a COVID-free future 
Valeria Murguia, 21, a university student, poses for a photograph in a field near her home in McFarland, California, U.S., December 17, 2020. Murguia was finishing her junior year at California State University, Fresno, studying communications and working part time at the campus health centre when the pandemic hit. All of a sudden, classes went online and her modest income from crafting social media messages to help students stay healthy evaporated. Living in Fresno, a fast-growing city where housing costs were rising, became too expensive, so within a few weeks Murguia found herself back home with her parents in the small farming town of McFarland. At home, Murguia concentrated on schoolwork, and on skills she would need after graduation: she learned how to build websites, improved her graphic design proficiency and studied event planning. She also worked with her parents, both immigrants from Mexico, picking grapes in California's Central Valley vineyards. "It made people more serious," she said of the pandemic, "not so loosey-goosey ... It's going to for sure leave a mark on our generation." Murguia will graduate in May into a tight job market. Even so, Murguia is optimistic about her post-pandemic future. "I'm really staying positive, because if I start looking at the negative things, I just start playing games in my head," she said. "And I don't want to end in that space." REUTERS/Brandon Bell SEARCH "GEN-Z COVID-19" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES 
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