• Austin Whittlesey

Diaries of a 2020 College Grad

Not too long ago, I remember those late nights being so tired that I couldn’t possibly process another word, lesson, or assignment. To gather strength, I would go into see my sleeping boy and stand over him only for a second. I knew as soon as he awoke, he would be looking at me with those wide acorn eyes knowing his daddy can achieve anything. Instantly rejuvenated, I kissed him on the forehead, and my goal of graduating with an A-average was back within my grasp.

Now, working back to the future. In January, an announcement came from the World Health Organization that a coronavirus was developing out of China. Also, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other individuals were tragically lost in a helicopter crash. In February, America saw its President impeached and acquitted. In March, the Dow Jones plummeted and suffered the largest single-day point drop. Also, Americans were asked to begin a 15-day self-quarantine period to slow the spread of Covid-19. Just as the period was coming to an end, an extension to 45 days was put into place. In April, millions upon millions would quickly lose their jobs, and even worse, the death toll would continue to rise. Across the globe, widespread anxiety and fear were justifiably running rampant. I know, I know, and sorry for the reminder.

Just within these tragedies, I earned a communications degree with a 3.8 GPA. Even with an uncertain world around me, I could feel the wind at my back and was ready to soar. I knew I was many in one with so much to give and that the world had something to offer me in return for my gifts too.

As the days pressed on, I began to see the opportunities that were once available dwindling before my eyes, and the other companies were freezing their hiring processes altogether. Like so many, these difficult times were bringing doubt and fear into my mind. Although, I stayed strong and held on to hope that the perfect position was out there waiting for me. I applied and applied, then applied once more.

However, within my failing job search, it finally became noticeable how fast I was going nowhere. Instead of standing out from the crowd, I was submitting my resume to whoever was accepting. I even found myself in interviews where I knew going in that I would not have accepted the position, but there I was. I had just spent four years paying attention to every detail, preparing for every scenario, and keeping small targets on big goals. Yet, I started my professional career doing the polar opposite.

My job search continues, but today, I start with the conclusion that I want. From the beginning, tailoring my resume and writing a specific cover letter that will spark the reader’s interest. When an opportunity arises to present myself to a business, I have already researched the company and interviewer, taken part in practice Q&A sessions, and being confident with my appearance. This time we are living in is difficult for everyone. Do not lose hope! If we start with the idea that something is wrong with us or the situation we are in, we will be descending towards an underwhelming outcome. Whatever it takes, build yourself up! For me, that small kiss on my little boy’s forehead brings an unreasonable strength for tomorrow. Find what lifts you.

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