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I sat in a Zoom lecture when suddenly an email notification flashed across my screen. It read “ESPN Next – Status Update.” I immediately minimized the lecture screen and clicked my way to the email. I had already completed two interviews for the production assistant position within the program, the latter of which was a more extensive video call, and I felt I had done well enough to advance on to the next stage.

In hindsight, the subject line of the email probably should have sounded alarms in my head with everything that has been going on in the world, but it did not. I was too excited. As soon as I saw the notification my adrenaline started flowing. As I read through the email, however, my initial excitement quickly plummeted. The email explained that, due to these unprecedented circumstances, the company’s business leaders would be taking time to focus on staff members and their critical needs, meaning they would be pausing the hiring process indefinitely. This is the jarring reality for many graduating seniors applying to jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Internships have been canceled, people have been laid off and programs have been indefinitely suspended as mine was due to the virus. This is an anxiety-inducing time for many graduating seniors who were looking forward to finding their first jobs after college. I have personally been anticipating finding my footing in the journalism field post-graduation, but now it feels as though the rug has been pulled from beneath my feet, leaving me and many others stumbling to recover. 

My main fear has always been becoming stagnant. My parents and other family members have reassured me in recent weeks that I will be okay because they will continue to support me, and while I am grateful for their words and continued support, I remain uneasy in the new reality I find myself in. I am someone who always wants to work to advance toward my goals, but now, in the midst of this pandemic, it is all too easy to feel stuck. It is all too easy to feel as though there is nowhere to go, no real opportunities to gain real work experience and improve one’s craft.

However, if graduating seniors are to make the best of the situation, they must view everyday as an opportunity to improve, perhaps even more so now that there are fewer activities to be distracted by. While it is understandable to be discouraged by the lack of opportunities in the current job market, it is important to realize that one can refine skills they will need in the future to become a more qualified candidate during this quarantine. 

There are many ways to expand one’s skill set during this period. Because I want to enter the journalism field, I have ordered and set up equipment to start a podcast. With the way the industry is trending, being able to set up podcast equipment, edit audio and prepare and host the show will be major assets in the job market. I have also recently started journaling in an attempt to improve my writing abilities. Taking a moment to describe the mundane things in everyday life has helped maintain a fresh perspective.

Regardless of the field one hopes to enter, everyone has skills that they can work to enhance before entering the job market, and now is the perfect time to do so. Ultimately, the class of 2020 should view this as an opportunity to improve their skill set and prepare to enter the job market in the future.