The new world of virtual learning for college students has become the newly added stressor especially for graduating seniors figuring out their life after school. Halfway into the Spring semester of 2020, what seemed like an extended spring break for me as a college Junior turned into untimely isolation from our campuses, families, and friends.
I struggled to keep my focus finishing out my junior year of college, and as August 2020 quickly rolled around, it seemed as if everyone was simultaneously asking “What’s next?”. My answer was “give me a few more months, I’m figuring it out,” but as the months rolled by and the 2020 semester ended, I watched my friends receive graduate school acceptances, full-time job opportunities, and I still couldn’t figure out my plan for after graduation.
The Stress Of Preparing For Post-Graduate Life
College students face an immense amount of stress pressure to directly start their lives and have everything together as soon as they have their diploma, and it’s simply an unrealistic expectation for 21-year-old students.
First, release yourself of all societal pressures and expectations, and you may not have all questions answered, but you should be relieved of a little stress.
Here is how to navigate post-grad life and search for job opportunities during a pandemic:
1. Put Your Research Skills To Use
I approach sorting out the next steps in my life with the tools I’ve been given in college: Research and planning, time management, and patience. Researching opportunities online is a great place to start because you can get a good idea of what is out there and the qualifications you’ll need for certain jobs. A few useful online sources for job opportunities are LinkedIn, Handshake, Indeed, Chegg, Glassdoor and more. If you have a career planning office available to you try to take advantage of their services before graduation to receive professional help on exploring career opportunities.
2. Tap Into Networking
Networking is another great way to research. Reach out to people you know to see if they can connect you to people they know, or schedule calls with people to ask them what they did after graduation and how they got to where they are. Although networking today is likely to be virtual you can still make it work. Introduce yourself, have a list of questions you would like to know or icebreakers to get the conversation going and be sure to follow up and keep in contact to establish a genuine connection. A lot of people deep into their profession can agree they didn’t have everything figured out as soon as they left college, and it took some years of trial and error to reach a profession that best suits them.
3. Plan Ahead To Set Yourself Up For Maximum Success
For maximum productivity, it’s equally important to plan things out. That can be planning out your week and choosing to research three jobs you’re interested in and applying for them, making networking phone calls, or sketching out where you want to be in the coming years. Planning is a great way to really visualize yourself where you would like to see yourself and it gives you the drive to make your dreams a reality. Here are some more tips on how to plan effectively.
Along with planning and research, time management forces you to be consistent and organized with your plans. I like to set aside 2 hours on my non-busy days of the week to research and plan, and that helps me to stay on task and not get easily distracted. Most importantly, patience truly is a virtue when trying to navigate life during COVID-19. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the saying “stress kills” and allowing rejection to be the driving force of your job searching can easily kill your spirit of determination.
These are unprecedented times we are facing, and a lot of opportunities may be delayed, but they do not dictate the endless opportunities ahead. Enjoy the journey of curiosity and trial and error. Your bright future awaits.