A new dress for our summer graduation ceremony; a spot of sun, sand, and sea to celebrate; a 2-week work placement with Penguin before finding and jumping into a job.
Of course, 2020 had other plans. University is one of the hardest things I’ve ever put myself through academically, financially, and mentally, yet my final year was far beyond my expectations. Graduating in the time of coronavirus meant swapping the graduation gown with a dressing gown as I wrapped up nearly 19 years of education on a random Saturday afternoon in my bedroom. This isn’t exactly how I and thousands of other graduates intended to end our degree: I guess the celebrating will have to wait until things are a little less dystopian.
But, what’s next? Well, a global pandemic has only rendered job hunting more difficult. Some of us were lucky enough to secure a graduate job before the pandemic flared up. Meanwhile, others sit in perpetual wait not knowing when an opportunity will come their way. Work experience schemes have been cancelled or postponed. Internships are in high demand. The only other option at this point is to bag a job that requires no qualifications, but even that position remains uncertain with lockdown measures potentially changing at the drop of a hat.
While I know I want to work in publishing, I couldn’t help but feel despondent when I saw a tweet float around Twitter that an entry-level editorial job received over 1000 applicants. With news such as this, it’s easy to feel bewildered and disheartened about the graduate job-search. I’m sure I’m not alone in swinging from feeling optimistic about the beginnings of my career to feeling uninspired and that job-hunting may be an exercise in futility. So, what can we do?
When job hunting wears me down, my mind spirals into panic and peddles forward to the future. That being so, I’m trying to focus on the present; falling into the anxiety pit isn’t going to help matters. Some activities that help me stay present include:
Meditate: courses on Headspace dedicated to sleep health and managing anxiety have worked wonders.
Listen to podcasts: ‘Unlocking Us with Brené Brown’ and ‘The Lavendaire Lifestyle’ are just two podcasts on personal development that tackle managing anxiety and sparking your creativity in times of uncertainty.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.– Maya Angelou
Exercise: I began Heather Robinson’s 12-Week Workout Guide a couple of months ago and it’s now become a staple part of my morning routine. I finish by incorporating some yoga stretches before a hearty breakfast.
Journal: I end my days by writing down my thoughts; be it a couple of lines or a couple of pages, whatever I need to offload before unwinding for the evening. My bullet journal is from Papier: get £10 off your first Papier order here!
To thrive in this time, as a graduate, it comes down to adopting a new and creative approach to lockdown. We can start by boosting our skillset:
Career-boosting courses: research what skills you need to transform yourself into the ideal candidate and take some online courses. LinkedIn Learning, FutureLearn, and Google Digital Garage are just a few websites that offer excellent remote courses.
Work on your CV: having applied for so many jobs, my CV has been tweaked more times than I can count. However, by honing my CV, I’ll be best prepared for when the job market opens up again.
A lack of structure is strange, but I try to remind myself: what’s the rush? For now, I’m maintaining my blog, signing up to webinars, talking to people in the same position as me, and most of all, embracing the downtime. It’s important to remember now more than ever that life isn’t a race.
The most important thing we can do right now is to just be gentle with ourselves. We don’t always need to be productive. Instead, it’s just as important to listen to our bodies and do what we can to stay happy and healthy. Graduating in the time of coronavirus may not be anyone anticipated, but we’re all in the same boat. We’ve all just been thrown into the deep end a little sooner than we expected.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”― Oscar Wilde
Are you graduating during the coronavirus pandemic?
Also read: Little Things 25