The class of 2020 struggled to find jobs post-graduation due to the coronavirus and the state of our economy. The pandemic started approximately three months before they were scheduled to walk the stage, leaving many students uncertain whether or not they would be employed. They were left settling for jobs they were likely overqualified for, searching for another unpaid internship to gain experience or even enrolling in graduate school to pass the time.
The class of 2021 is now approaching the same issue. Kelsey Childress is a senior with a triple major in journalism, communications and psychology. Childress is still worried about beginning her job search despite having three fields to query. Her plan is to pursue a career in broadcasting as a news reporter.
“During our extended holiday break, I became very nervous about my future and my ability to get a job amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” she explained. She began searching for job openings at television stations everywhere she could, even though she knew that with that type of job, she would need to be able to start right away. Childress was surprised to see that, despite the pandemic, more openings were available than she thought, leaving her with more confidence.
Childress also recognizes that it’s going to be difficult for her to find a job in her field in herher hometown of Lynchburg, Va. during the pandemic. She’s currently looking for jobs to start out with in Florida and Georgia. “I’m hoping to get a position somewhere a little warmer and sunnier than Buffalo,” she said.
Tessa Pszonak is also a senior majoring in communications and digital media arts. She knew that she wanted to attend graduate school even before the pandemic; however, she was uncertain as to when she would want to start the program, whether it be directly after her graduation with her undergraduate degree, or later on in her career. “I decided to go right away because of the pandemic,” she stated. Pszonak, amongst several other 2021 graduates, have opted to attend graduate school or start graduate school early because of this.
Jenna French is a junior majoring in journalism and English who plans to graduate early. French will also be a part of the class of 2021, and intends to graduate at the end of the fall semester.
French is uncertain of what she will do after she graduates in the fall. “It’s still hard to say what the world will look like,” she said. She planned on taking a semester off to save money and to figure out a plan for herself. “I feel like with everything going on, there have been limited opportunities to explore career options which has now left me stuck not knowing what I want to do next,” French said. “I think the time off from school will help, but who knows when the world will return to ‘normal.’”
Searching for jobs has always been a stressful experience for graduating seniors. It is a time of uncertainty — one that is only made worse due to the pandemic.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this is not an immediate process. It may take time to find jobs that fit your career path and that require little experience, so there is no need to panic if you don’t have a position set in stone by graduation,” Childress stated.