Monday, April 6, 2020

Graduation & COVID in 2020

Opinion Article

Graduation was one of the most stressful periods in my life; I was juggling exams, job applications/interviews, and preparations for my graduation. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the number of things that needed to be done. All the stress came to a halt a day or two after the last of my final exams when I began working at TD as a Risk Analyst. I was fortunate enough to get a job the second I was out of University, and most of it was possible due to Ryerson's brilliant co-op program.

Today things seem a bit different. And though I may not be experiencing things first-hand, I can assure you I have somewhat an idea of what new grads are feeling, as both of my brothers finish their last semester at UofT. For them, I see today being much different than the time I graduated.

The primary stress

The biggest responsibility that causes stress for new grads is the idea of starting your careers. I admit this was quite scary for me as well, but as a new grad facing many circumstantial challenges (mostly related to the COVID pandemic), the task of job-hunting is becoming a nightmare. As the effects of business closures ripple through the economy, the impacts become clear; everyone from small business owners to billion-dollar-conglomerates, like Google and Microsoft, have put out hiring freezes as revenues begin to decline. And the worst part is we have yet to announce a VIABLE reopening of the economy.

So, if tech giants are showing signs of struggle, then there is room for concern when it comes to the usual avenues that hire new grads (e.g. banks, consulting firms, small-mid-sized companies). And finding a job is just one aspect of this nightmare... It also sucks that the shutdown is both global and uncertain in its duration... meaning it's probably not an option to buy a ticket to Europe... be it to reflect or to simply enjoy the summer.

One is left to wonder what can be done amidst all this...

Well, there are a few ways I would've gone about it, and my brothers seem to agree with me. Right now is the perfect time to learn some industry-related things. I know, I know... the idea of learning something despite attending university for four years seems ridiculous, and while it is somewhat unexciting, the question is, what else can you do from the comfort of your bed?
  1. Business students have many options, ranging from certificates in project management to the CPA, CFA, or other similar designations.
  2. For marketers, despite being business students, there are a few key things that need to be learned around digital marketing strategies, and of course, there are designations you can obtain here as well.
  3. For arts-related programs, this is the perfect time to finesse your craft, be it writing, singing, or something else. And if you're really passionate about what you're doing, maybe grad school will be an option. No one is stopping you from writing a novella or a script. So, JUST START!
  4. If you're graduating from a computers related program, learning a programming language or setting up the basics for a cloud certification (e.g. AWS, Azure, etc.) seem to be the best use of your time. You can also approach it as a project and develop an app, or a website to add to your portfolio.
  5. Engineering grads are safer than most as tech companies are the least impacted of all business sectors. Giants like Amazon, Tesla, Netflix, and Slack are reportedly setting new business highs with increases in customers, orders, and business deals. This means, landing a job at one of these companies is probably slightly easier than before as demand for such roles shoots through the roof.
This pandemic is as bad as one thinks it to be. I firmly believe with every threat comes an opportunity, and the threat of a new bacteria shutting the world down has brought to attention hundreds of new opportunities. Facebook has launched Messenger Rooms, Zoom Video Communications has seen a 300% increase in their market cap, Amazon has been setting new all-time-highs for the past two weeks, and the dismal state of our education system sheds light on the need of a more online system, even if it's just as a backup.

Now, the real question is, what are you going to take up if you haven't already found yourself a job? Are you going to let the pandemic hold you back from doing something meaningful, or is this just another chance to carpe-diem?


Thanks for reading,

We allow comments on our blogs, and if you're interested in having a discussion, we'd be more than happy to engage. Other than that, please stay safe and stay on top of the world!

Sean
Founder of ClassHill

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