Graduation has been postponed to August. The senior bar crawl has been canceled. What should’ve been two months of celebrating the end of your time at Loyola has turned into two months of living with your parents again. Oh, and you have to get a job.
This is what the class of 2020 is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many students finishing their last semester don’t have jobs lined up, meaning they’re in the uncomfortable position of looking for something as the country comes to a virtual standstill. It’s certainly not how seniors expected their college careers to end.
It’s okay to be nervous. We don’t know when this is going to end. We don’t know how the economy is going to recover. This isn’t a good environment to be entering the professional world.
As Diane Curtis — a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts — said in a LinkedIn post, it feels like you’re “jumping off a cliff” as you’re getting your degree under “extraordinary circumstances.” She also argues employers should take into account the fact that the class of 2020 had to finish their degrees as a trying time.
Graduating college is intimidating enough under normal circumstances. You’ve spent your whole life being a student, preparing to one day leave the comfortable bubble of daily schooling in favor of the job market. So, graduating is just a representation of your life’s work, no pressure or anything.
Maybe you were able to get a job lined up before the present-day mayhem kicked in — congratulations! Your time networking through unpaid internships and applying to any and every job you’re (even slightly) qualified for has paid off.
But your transition into your new position likely isn’t going to look like you expected.
Whether it’s remote training via video chat or a delayed start altogether, this isn’t how you wanted or deserved to begin your budding career.
Maybe you’re not even sure if the company you signed on with will have the budget for you when this is all over. Or if the company itself will even be there. That’s scary. You thought you were in the clear, in the homestretch of your collegiate career with a job all set to take you in after you walked across the stage in May. Now it’s all uncertain.
Try to take some comfort in the fact that things are uncertain for just about everyone right now. No one knows what’s going to happen, so you’re not alone when you’re social distancing in your room and crying about the future.
A message to employers: have some sympathy for those graduating with even more uncertainty than those who came before them. These students know they’re coming in with little experience. They know it’s a risk to take a chance on a fresh graduate over someone even just a few years older.
But when you see “class of 2020” on a resume or in an email signature, take some time to stop and think about that. Think about what that means, and how much instability and uncertainty comes with it.
That same sentiment goes out to our fellow seniors still on that job hunt.
Maybe you had a plan of sorts — you were going to meet up with the necessary people over the course of the next few months, get your foot in the door. You were going to submit every application you could and see what sticks. You were (somewhat) confident it would all work out, you just weren’t sure how yet.
Now you’re really not sure how it’s all going to work out.
Of course we didn’t want to be the class graduating into this mess.
Our advice? Do what you can to keep your skills fresh. Keep practicing all the things you’ve learned in classes and through internships. Maybe even propose a Zoom meeting or phone call instead of meeting a potential employer for coffee.
If it’s going to work out in the end, it’ll be because you made it work out.