Four Ways My Peers are Changing their Career Plans Amid the Pandemic

woman walking up stack of books

I’m not gonna lie– this pandemic wasn’t really a part of my five-year plan. 

Now I, like many other young people, am forced to reevaluate my career choice in the face of the virus. The employment opportunities and the types of jobs that are available are changing rapidly and college students are feeling pressure to update their plans just as quickly. 

Here are some ways the Coronavirus has changed career plans for me and my college-aged peers: 

Some students are choosing to go to graduate school

It’s already intimidating to find a job fresh out of college when the economy isn’t absolutely wrecked. During this age of job insecurity and record high unemployment, new graduates aren’t super eager to face the workforce. As a result, a lot of my peers are now choosing to bide time by going to graduate school.

A friend of mine is graduating this year with a mathematics major. Stressed that he could not find a job, he took the LSAT and is now attending law school next fall. He does not have an extreme passion for law (and he is certainly not excited for four more years of monotone lectures and mountains of homework), but he is hopeful that the extra time will give the economy a chance to settle. 

Students are choosing to become first responders

As students watch the nation’s collective health deteriorate, many are inspired to become first responders in an effort to help. 

Even if they’re not becoming first responders, many of my peers are shifting their career paths to benefit people. For example, engineers are now looking at ways to make coronavirus testing more efficient.

In a time where there is a gaping need for more health heroes, young people are jumping at the opportunity to do their part.

Internships are now rare 

A huge number of internships for Summer 2020 have been cancelled. Friends who were set up in Silicon Valley are now spending their summer flipping burgers at McDonald’s. The only macs they’re getting near are the big ones.

Many places (even essential ones) are simply not hiring anyone– especially not college students with no real work experience. Because internships often transition into full-time careers, this makes it even harder for graduates to find jobs.  

Dream jobs are being abandoned

Many young people think it’s no longer financially viable to follow their dreams.

In this tumultuous time, it seems like career security is the most important thing to students. I have many friends who have sacrificed their dreams in order to find a stable, high paying job: actors, artists, and athletes have abandoned their aspirations in favor of becoming engineers, lawyers, and businessmen. It is heartbreaking to watch friends let go of goals they’ve spoken of since we were in grade school, but their choices are understandable– safety, practicality, and health have evolved into the areas of greatest concern. 

For all the college kiddos who just had their career goals turned upside down, continue to be resilient. Things will continue to change, so flexibility is key. 

Although things may not go as planned, we will persist and find a way to be both happy and financially successful. 

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