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Boulevard of Options: 2021 Graduates

by Reagan Williams

Are you trying to figure out the best option to pursue as graduation looms? Maybe the conversation you’re having with yourself is, “I’m not ready, and I don’t what are my options?” Meanwhile, looking for a job is stressful and it is more stressful than ever, in light of the economy’s residual effects from the pandemic. Your job search status might be what you see on a person’s Facebook status, “It’s Complicated.”

Mainly, it’s a lot of pressure trying to finish school, get a job and transition out of college into the “real world.” According to Inside Higher Ed, 41 percent of students were generally pleased with the education they received online during COVID-19, saying it was a very good experience, while pursuing their bachelor's degree. However, these students were predominantly in-person for class before COVID-19. On the contrary, 44 percent of students felt their educational experience was worse. Despite the pandemic, the options you have in your job search can be manageable as long as you do it properly.

What are some things you can do? Business Insider highlighted insight from A-J Aronnstein, dean of Beyond Barnard, a program that provides career and professional advising resources for students and alumni. He shares three key things that job seekers should do while looking for employment: explore how your skill set can apply to a wide range of jobs, expand your job search beyond online resources, and networking with potential employers prior to graduation before asking for the job. Overall, your job search centers around your mindset by getting out of your comfort zone, fostering relationships with industry professionals, doing your research, and utilizing your creativity to develop a strategy to obtain employment.

Now, let’s say you answered the question and still you don’t feel ready. You know yourself, and you know you aren’t ready to take that step into adulting just yet. Don’t stress, you still have plenty of options to choose from. For example, if you want to make a difference in your career you can choose a Gap Year Program e.g., AmeriCorps, Peace Corps or City Year. These programs are great resume builders and garner lifetime lessons you can apply to your life. Another alternative is pursuing an internship while working on a full-time basis. Not only will you gain professional experience to add to your resume, this alternative offers you an opportunity to build your professional network. Or are you graduating from a college heavily invested in research? Mostly, there are research assistantships in a plethora of fields you can look into. Nonetheless, you can select other opportunities ranging from volunteering, teaching English abroad, taking a part-time job that fuels your passion or still getting an on campus job. Whether “It’s Complicated” making the transition from college into the job market, don’t forget that you need to travel on your own boulevard of options- to relate your skills and knowledge from college to real-world prospects.

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