Class of 2020 — rising to the challenge of uncertain times

When university commencements and celebrations were canceled this past spring due to the coronavirus, graduates around the world all shared the same kind of emotion: grief.

Many students had job offers and internships rescinded. There was never a formal opportunity for graduates to say goodbye to their campuses, peers and mentors, and there likely won’t be due to the continuing uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although this uncertainty still looms, universities are preparing to open later this month and continuing to teach, learn, and work while adapting to coronavirus measures. It is certain that recent graduates should do the same.

It’s true that many companies and businesses have faced financial hardships during this pandemic. During the first wave of shutdowns in April, the U.S. Department of Labor saw 6.6 million Americans file unemployment claims in just one week (a discouraging statistic for those who just graduated).

But the Department’s latest report, released this month, indicates that 1.8 million jobs were added in July and new unemployment claims are the lowest they’ve been since April, despite the latest Covid-19 spikes and shutdowns.

So, what does this mean for Class of 2020 graduates? While we might not soon be landing that dream job we expected (though we haven’t given up that it may be within reach soon enough), we currently possess all the tools necessary to keep pursuing that dream: ideas, skills, optimism, and toughness formed through this crisis. And our lifetime comfort level using new technologies position this Class of 2020 to start making its indelible mark on the world, even in an era of limitations on a better normal.

Our Class has the great benefit of being born alongside technological advances like Wi-Fi, instant messenger, and Google, all of which have shaped the way we communicate and conduct work today.

Our Class is best equipped to start working remotely because it’s the same way we finished our degrees.

Our Class will not give up hope, but rather will use our tech-savvy skillsets to continue making connections in our fields through social media outlets like Twitter and LinkedIn and finding new opportunities in the time of the coronavirus.

Forget about all the government PPP talk — recent graduates should focus on the other three P’s: Passion, Patience, and Perseverance.

Otherwise known as the “Three P’s of Career Success,” I encourage my fellow Class of 2020 members nationwide to transition from the grieving period of an unceremonious graduation to a positive upward path for career and life optimism.

Remember your passion. Be patient (but proactive). And when you hear “no,” persevere and look for opportunities where you can grow professionally.

While this global pandemic has caused unprecedented stress and worry, it has only made the Class of 2020 stronger. We proved we can adapt and succeed in what was our final (and often most challenging) semester, and…


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