Unprecedented times *insert eye roll* means an unprecedented graduation, and an unprecedented entrance into the workforce.
Of course, there is the issue of graduating into an economy that has been hit hard by the pandemic, but there is more to it than that.
This year’s graduates have had more than two semesters of remote learning.
That’s two semesters with limited social interaction, limited networking and limited abilities to explore workplaces and opportunities.
I think we can all agree that connecting and networking via Zoom is a task that is not quite impossible, but one that requires a large amount of effort and the strength to spend even more time in front of the computer screen.
That is the kind of strength and patience that I do not have. As I get ready to graduate in just a few weeks, I can’t help but feel that I was robbed of the most important semesters of my college career.
In the final years of school, it becomes increasingly important to connect not only with professors, but also at job fairs and business events. Networking and forming relationships is one of the best ways to secure a job and to improve skills.
It becomes equally important to explore the workforce and to look into what type of companies and positions are most interesting.
What differentiates one company’s Zoom call days from another? How are we supposed to know how to act in an office setting?
While remote learning has been a challenge, it has been a fairly conquerable one. This is due to the fact that I already know what professors expect from me.
What I don’t know is what business professionals and hiring managers expect from me. Many companies have moved to working from home, and entering a remote position feels daunting.
Not only is it daunting, but it makes me sad. It is highly likely that my very first professional job will consist of the same old Zoom calls and emails that currently consume my days.
I won’t get to dress up in my business attire and walk through the office halls. I won’t get to drink terrible office coffee and sit at a desk surrounded by other professionals… at least not for a while.
Even though things are looking up and a return to normal feels within reach, it also feels as if the pandemic has put a damper on entering the workforce.
There is of course a silver lining in all of this despair.
If we students and soon-to-be graduates could overcome the obstacles of remote learning and pandemic living, then we can get through anything.
What can the professional world throw at us that is more difficult than what we’ve endured in the last year?
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