Now theres a title I never thought I’d type. I was unlucky enough to have graduated in the peak of this global pandemic and honestly, it sucked. I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time now, but always found myself getting upset/frustrated over the whole situation. However, I think now is a good time to talk about it as it’s been almost half a year since I ‘graduated’.
Obviously university isn’t all about the graduation ceremony but its a pretty big part. It’s what rounds up those three years of hard work and ends that chapter of your life, so to have it taken away is pretty upsetting. Luckily, my graduation has been rescheduled to May 2021 (but this can’t be guaranteed of course). Basically, finishing my degree during lockdown with no official goodbye to fellow course mates, tutors/lecturers was awful. Alongside a graduation ceremony, my course was due to exhibit work in London at Free Range, which is a graduate showcase for art and photography. Of course, this was cancelled. This would have been an excellent opportunity to get our work out there, have professionals see it etc. Anyway, unfortunately none of it happened and I think I’m just feeling sorry for myself (still).
I feel as though I’ve been thrown out into the real world without any closure from my last endeavour. Like not being able to swim and being pushed into open water. I understand uni has to come to an end for everyone, pandemic or not but this feels particularly unfair. Jobs are few and far between and when opportunities do come up, it’s so competitive. The days roll into one when job hunting and it’s taken a toll on my mental health thats for sure. When will I find something suitable, if at all? Do I want to carry on studying or am I just looking into that for the sake of it? All these questions I have no answers for.
As you can tell, it’s a daunting time and I know I’m not alone in this. Navigating life during a pandemic is difficult enough, let alone being a graduate as well. I thought I’d share the experiences of two other lovely girls who are in the same boat, and if you’re also a 2020 graduate, I hope you know you’re not alone.
A new dress for our summer graduation ceremony and a spot of sun, sand, and sea to celebrate before finding and jumping into a job.
Of course, 2020 had other plans. For many of us, University is one of the hardest things we’ll ever put ourselves through academically, financially, and mentally. That being so, it’s safe to say the pandemic dimmed the light at the end of the degree tunnel, and our optimism of securing employment dimmed with it.
When it came to job hunting, I was among those graduates who sat in perpetual wait not knowing when an opportunity would come my way. Months of waking up, applying for jobs, sleeping, repeat, made me feel increasingly bewildered and disheartened about the graduate job search. Yet, I wasn’t alone in swinging from feeling optimistic about the beginnings of my career to feeling that job-hunting was simply an exercise in futility.
That being said, I had to take a step back and remind myself: what’s the rush? If there ever were a silver lining of the global pandemic, it’s that it gave me the opportunity to figure out what I truly wanted to achieve in a career. By embracing a slower-paced life, I rekindled passions that I lost amid deadlines and a few too many late nights. I spent my time thinking about how I can do something meaningful in the long term rather than something that brings me little joy in the short term.
Miraculously, it was then when I shrugged off the panic that an incredible opportunity came my way. Months of job-hunting paid off and as of the first week of November, I started working as an Editorial Intern at a creative digital agency. While I’m aware I’m incredibly fortunate to have secured a job at the start of lockdown 2.0, it shows how the relentless months of job hunting will pay off when you least expect it – and trust me, I didn’t expect it. In the meantime, I wish all the luck in the world to those who are still stuck in the relentless job search cycle. Keep pushing on, and we can look forward to celebrating our graduation when things are a little less dystopian.
Having graduated from a top university with a first class degree in English Language this summer, I was well aware that I had picked a degree which left me open to a wide range of career paths and I felt pretty optimistic as I had an internship for a PR agency secured for the following summer.
When the pandemic hit in March, I emailed to confirm my internship and was ghosted. I struggled at home to write my dissertation, but I was lucky to still live with my university flatmates who helped me through it. Fast forward to November and I moved home with my Dad to save money and apply for jobs and nothing has worked out. It’s quite frankly terrifying. I’m not eligible for any help from the government, I got very close to landing a retail job and then we went into lockdown 2.0 and every job rejection has ended with a short email explaining that someone else just had a little bit more experience than me. It’s really made me question my worth and the worst part is, it’s not easy to see an end in sight. I’ve found some volunteer work as a social media assistant for a social enterprise but I’m yet to find any paid work – the one thing keeping me sane is knowing that I’m not in this alone, even when it’s tempting to compare yourself to the lucky few who have managed to find jobs.
Thank you to Evie and Jess and I just want to end this post by saying it will get better. It won’t be like this forever and we will get through it. Thats a little reminder for myself as much as it is for anyone else going through this tough time. Stay safe and much love!