By Lucy Kates, Hillel at Georgia Tech '20
2020 has not been the year any of us expected. The term “unprecedented” only begins to encapsulate the chaos that has been the past few months.
For reference, the term itself has reached an all-time peak according to Google Search Trends, which gives some idea of how often the term is being used.
Graduating in a pandemic and economic recession was definitely unprecedented and not the ending that any college students had imagined to commemorate their 4 (ish) years in college. I, like many other college students, had to move back in with my parents and adjust to this new normal.
Unfortunately, right after graduation, my job offer was rescinded. I had mentally prepared to move to San Francisco, but quickly had to readjust my expectations for the year to come. To be completely honest, I was unsure how to proceed. Should I start applying to jobs right away? Give myself a break and relax? It was overwhelming to say the least. One of the biggest silver linings in this, however, was the immense amount of support I received from friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers. I had never truly understood the power of my network!
Over these past couple of months, I have been on more Zoom and Facetime calls than ever before. I have (virtually) met incredible individuals who have kindly offered their time and advice to help me navigate this difficult period. One of the best pieces of advice I have received was to be open to all opportunities because you never know what will come from any experience until you do it! This advice has helped guide me as I continue to figure out both what I want to do with my degree and how I want to fill my days in quarantine.
One of the people that I connected with in quarantine was the Director of Hillel at Georgia Tech, my Alma Mater (and yes, I am very excited that I can say that now). She explained that Hillels of Georgia needed some graphic design work and that she could refer me for the role. I was beyond grateful and believed that the project-based design work would help fill my days, provide some income, and further connect me with one of the organizations that helped shape my time in college. However, working for HGA has done more than that. Saying yes to this opportunity enabled me to work with incredible people who interacted with me on both personal and professional levels. I got the opportunity to work collaboratively with various individuals in my industry and learn skills that were not taught in school. Additionally, many people that I have met through this design position have offered to personally connect me with individuals in the design industry to help me find a full-time role. These acts of kindness reflect that people, even those who do not know me, want to help. They encourage me to be optimistic and continue saying yes to opportunities that arise.
The unprecedented nature of the pandemic has led me to reassess my priorities in life. By remaining open to all opportunities and taking more risks, I am refocusing my energy towards personal growth as opposed to solely professional growth. For the first time, my life decisions are not centered around getting a good job, but rather doing what is best for myself. Within the next month, I am moving to Brooklyn to start a new chapter in my life with my best friend. I am trying to remain optimistic that a job will present itself, and until then, I am going to keep being open to all opportunities.