College seniors have difficulties job searching during pandemic

by Raneen El-Barbarawi / Staff Reporter

College seniors graduating. Photo courtesy of Southern Living. 

Not only is COVID-19 continuing to be an issue for Americans of all ages, but it is also impacting the job hunting search for seniors in college.

“Job searching is bleak. There aren’t a lot of places hiring and with everyone graduating the market will be saturated with people who need jobs. Most companies aren’t hiring at all because they aren’t open,” said Shan Wofford, 23, a graduating senior at Roosevelt University majoring in psychology and women and gender studies. 

Indeed, some students even had their job offers rescinded because companies are struggling during these unprecedented times. However, some federal work-study students are still able to hold jobs virtually at home. 

Wofford explained that despite not being able to work outside of school, she currently holds a job at the Learning Commons where she is able to work at home as a tutor. “I am so grateful for that.”

Seniors like Shahd Louaibi, a graduating senior majoring in biology, also explained that she works as a peer tutor in the Learning Commons center. “I’m lucky to still be able to continue my duties off-campus by holding Zoom hours.” 

Wofford also explained that her application to law school is being postponed until her life “feels more stable. They aren’t currently doing any summer in-person testing for the LSAT so that’s also an issue,” said Wofford.

On the other hand, Louaibi explained that she’s searching for dental assistant jobs post-graduation.

 “Because COVID-19 can be transmitted through droplets and aerosols, it will be especially difficult to find a dental office that would be willing to take a risk by hiring a new member to their team. Most dental offices are closed right now so I can’t even go in for interviews for the foreseeable future,” said Louaibi.

Louaibi explained that COVID-19 disrupted “most of her plans. A lot of the summer internships I have applied to, like the NIH-SIP, have been canceled. I had to pause my shadowing because of the stay-at-home order. My test date for the DAT had to be moved to June. I’m hoping they won’t cancel any more test dates because that would really affect when I can submit my application,” said Louaibi.

“Most graduate programs operate on a rolling admissions system so the earlier, the better. I’m hoping that dental schools will carry on their normal interviewing process because it affords students a chance to survey the school and decide whether it will be a good fit,” Louaibi added. 

Moreover, many seniors were disappointed to hear that Roosevelt’s commencement ceremony had been canceled. A survey was sent out to all graduating students with possible dates in June and August, that the ceremony could be moved to, but it is all currently up in the air. 

“I was looking forward to commencement, so I’m saddened by the possibility that we won’t have a ceremony. I’m hoping Roosevelt decides to postpone the ceremony and not completely cancel it,” said Louaibi.

“I graduate in three weeks, technically, but it doesn’t feel real. I have reconciled with it, but my family is really sad there won’t be a ceremony because I am the first person in my family to graduate. We were all really excited,” said Wofford. 

“I didn’t expect my last semester to end like this,” said Louaibi. “However, I’m very grateful for the support of my peers, family, and professors. There are others who have less than stellar home situations so I hope we can check in on each other during this time. This pandemic could very well lead to a spike in depression and anxiety. We must take care of each other and ourselves.”

In fact, most undergraduate students who are between the ages of 19 and 24 and are claimed as dependents by their parents or guardians will not receive the one-time $1200 stimulus check to relieve their financial stresses. 

However, some schools are reimbursing students for leaving campus and some college students may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Also, some colleges are issuing emergency funds, like grants and loans, under the CARES Act which provides $6 billion in funds to colleges. 

“As for my post-graduation plans, I will probably throw a party to celebrate the closing of this chapter in my life and the start of my graduate studies. The party will come much later though so people aren’t worried about COVID-19,” said Louaibi.

“My plan for post-graduation right now is just surviving,” Wofford said. 

Louaibi urges all seniors to complete the postponement survey for commencement that was emailed out, ”Even if you don’t necessarily want a ceremony, there are a lot of first-generation and low-income students that should be celebrated.”  

“But COVID-19 can’t take away my degree,” Wofford optimistically added.

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