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By Amelia Gale of SOJC CommencementAs a senior in high school, I had considered taking a year off to pursue a study abroad program and build personal independence. Throughout my decision making and weighing the options of deferring college for a year, I would always come back to the idea of graduating in the year 2020. As an 18-year-old, I was truly swayed by the way that sounded and the power behind the year itself. 

2020 felt whole and important.

I wish I had known at the time what it would mean to be a college senior in the year 2020. Having spent the entire fall and winter balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars and career networking, this ending is the epitome of anti-climactic. And one of the most difficult parts is the varying level of acknowledgment. From one side of the spectrum, people are eager to sympathize with our senior spring being taken away, last moments being lost and entering into your “first job” in a recession. But an even larger audience is jumping to acknowledge that more important crises are at stake- and they are right. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel a mix of emotions about the whole situation.

Communications majors are at a specifically odd moment in time. The need for public relations is at an all-time high but that doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in hiring. As I’m sure many people have seen, companies have quickly adjusted their messaging to work in this time of crisis and plenty have adapted their business strategies. But while all of this is going on, each job opportunity I was applying to has been taken down, and I am continually watching LinkedIn as many of my friends in entry-level careers are being laid off. 

Words of Advice

Throughout this difficult time I have heard a few pieces of advice to help the class of 2020

  • Use this time to tie off loose ends and finish up projects

Although we are still enrolled in full-time classes, many students have still been trying to find ways to make everyday life normal with lots of Zoom calls with friends and lots of happy hours. But while you’re at home anyways and after you’re bored of watching Netflix, this is a great time to polish your ePortfolio or maybe send out a few networking emails. You could also use this time to complete some certifications that can boost your resume.  If you give yourself 30 minutes of “professional” time maybe four times a week, you won’t be quite as overwhelmed when the time comes and can start to feel motivated towards your next steps. 

  • Use your disadvantages, to your advantage

As 2020 graduates, we have had our entire worlds flipped upside down right now but we are learning every day how to adapt to these changes. Take time to reflect on how you’ve made the best of that situation and then try to apply that to a personal strength. If you have learned how to diligently schedule all of your online classes, add those organizational skills to your mental resume and be sure to mention that in your next interview (which will happen soon even if it seems out of reach right now). Additionally, a lot of professionals on LinkedIn have offered to review professional materials for the class of 2020. Take advantage of this, and be prepared for when companies are back and hiring.

  • Try to reflect on all of your accomplishments 

It’s easy right now to weigh yourself down with bad energy and feel disappointed about losing senior spring. But in order to feel accomplished and get closure for this significant chapter in life, it’s important to reflect on all the excitement in the past four years. I personally am using some of my downtime to assemble a (very low maintenance) scrapbook of my four years in college to commemorate this monumental moment.

Parting Words

The class of 2020 will persevere through this moment and always have a way to connect in the future. As a graduating class, we will hopefully use these moments of distance to connect us much longer than the duration of this virus.