Nearly half of all post-secondary students changed their post-graduation plans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll conducted by Young America’s Foundation and The Federalist.
Students around the world with bright prospects and high hopes after graduation are now faced with tough decisions about where to live and what to do with their degrees due to COVID-19. With the economy at its lowest point since the Great Recession, hiring freezes and layoffs enacted by companies around the country are becoming more common and current U.S. employment is at 14.7 percent, while unemployment for those aged 20-24 is even higher at 25.7 percent.
“The hardest part is all the uncertainty that surrounds the answers,” said Tiffany Tou, a May 2020 graduate. “There is no definite timeline for when I can start working and it’s hard feeling down after graduating and having all my plans change.”
Even though some students initially received job or internship offers, many were moved online or rescinded altogether. In Taylor Beightol’s case, a May 2020 Baylor University graduate, it was both.
“In April during COVID sanctions in Texas, I reached out to [the company] and they told me I would still start on my agreed upon start date on June 1, regardless of if my onboarding would happen online or in-person,” said Beightol. “Then, two weeks before June 1, I received a call from my recruiter at the company letting me know all new employees’ offers were revoked and I would be one of the first people re-hired once their hiring freeze is over, but they don’t know when that is.”
While some students were left hanging, others are fortunate enough to have promises of future prospects. Sophie Czerniecki, a May 2020 Catholic University graduate is still enrolled in Villanova Law for the fall, but said that the structure of her classes is subject to change.
“Classes should continue as normal but they have a plan in place in case they need to do an alternate schedule or smaller class sizes,” said Czerniecki.
Despite the circumstances, some students are still working hard to ensure they have a future in the workforce. According to Beightol, there are still ways students can adapt and continue maximizing their chances to start their career.
“I have applied to over 100 jobs on LinkedIn, but the most success I have found is reaching out to brands I really love and emailing them to see if there are any opportunities available,” she said. “Right now, my plan is to work three jobs, two unpaid and one paid, so I can get experience in my field while also making some money to be able to pay the bills. I know not everyone is privileged enough to be able to do this, but it’s the right plan for me at this time.”
In a recent virtual address to graduates posted to Twitter by The Hill, Rep. Dan Crenshaw encouraged graduates to confront difficult circumstances with determination.
“Hardship, especially when you seek it out, will make you better prepared for the world and more likely to succeed in it,” Rep. Crenshaw said.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw to graduates: "We are becoming increasingly fragile, frightened, and offended at everything. Well that won't help you when the hard times come." pic.twitter.com/O0znEjIQrG
— The Hill (@thehill) May 28, 2020