How to handle graduating during a pandemic
What do you get when you take a stressed-out senior and add a global pandemic to the mix? You get an emotional, fiery ball of anxiety free-falling into society.
Throughout the entirety of our college career, we have been working toward the end goal: graduation. Whether you are a rising senior or leaving SU this spring, the thought of graduating college has definitely crossed your mind at some point.
But what are you supposed to do if you're graduating in the midst of a pandemic? It seems like no one's hiring, people are being let go of left and right and businesses and companies are shutting down globally.
It can be a lot to handle. Thankfully, you are not alone. There are millions of other students in your situation right now.
Just like those graduating seniors in 2008, you must come to facts with the idea that securing a job after college may be more difficult than you planned. Instead of panicking, however, use this knowledge to your advantage. What better time to prepare for your future than right now? While stuck at home, try and make some time each day to network and build your future career.
LinkedIn is a great resource that can help connect you to people all around the world. Reach out to SU alumni that currently are employed by your dream company and network! By making an effort to go out of your way to build relationships, you are putting yourself in front of others in your same position.
SU's career counselor Gloria Horner understands the importance behind networks like LinkedIn. She refers to LinkedIn as a "professional Facebook" and encourages students, especially seniors, to utilize it.
"If you aren’t on LinkedIn, now is the time to join," Horner stated.
Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 will be a talking point for years to come. When you go on interviews in the future, I can almost guarantee one of the questions they ask will be, "What did you do to pass time during COVID-19?" Use this time to network, build relationships and create talking points.
"Show that potential employer how you kept your sense of forward focus. There is the idea of resilience, facing the challenges and coming through stronger and more appreciative," Horner said.
As seniors, we already put so much pressure on ourselves. We want to finish the semester out strong, have job interviews lined up before graduation and then secure a job the minute we step off the stage. While it's okay to be eager, it's also okay to be patient and understand that there is a chance you may not have any interviews or jobs lined up post- graduating.
"Go forward as if this was business as usual in seeking out jobs. Just keep reminding yourself it’s not going to be business as usual, so don’t blame yourself for not getting what you want immediately. But just don’t give up," Horner said.
To wrap everything up, I just want to wish all you graduating seniors good luck. This isn't going to be easy, but unfortunately, it is reality. We're all in this together, and we will all get through this together.
"Best advice, follow the health guidelines, invest in activities that will strengthen your personal and professional development," Horner said. "Make use of the resources that are available to you. Find a balance of personal care and growth to get through this time. And, I suppose, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands."
By MELANIE RAIBLE
Featured photo from Clipart.