Class of COVID-19: Graduating into a Pandemic

Class of covid
1st Oct 2020
Posted By Yasmin Flowers

This year has no doubt been a whirlwind of uncertainty and confusion for us all. I remember sitting on a train home from University back in March questioning whether this was actually happening?

Lockdown was imminent, commuters were apprehensive and you could feel a sense of anxiety throughout the whole train as no one really knew what was going on. I remained optimistic - travelling only with a small suitcase of my belongings and presuming I would return to complete my final year of university. I thought it would all blow over quickly, and looking back now, I remember texting my uni friends and planning to celebrate the end of what had been a huge part of my life for three years. Little did I know, we wouldn't be returning, let alone have a graduation!

Despite the social aspects of my final year at university coming to a halt, coronavirus sort of worked in my favour at the beginning! I dedicated all of my time to my final project seeing as my hobbies pre-pandemic involved shopping and going for cocktails - which sadly wasn’t an option anymore! Luckily my experience turned from a negative into a positive as I proudly achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Fashion Marketing (so I can’t complain too much about missing out on all those espresso martinis!) For me, it wasn't until after I had completed all my assignments that the reality of coronavirus sunk in. Up until this point, I had been so preoccupied with university work that it had remained at the back of my mind, but it dawned on me all at once that during this challenging time I now had to transition into adulthood, find my feet and enter into a bleak and ever-changing job market.

The important thing for me was to stay positive (easier said than done in this climate I know), but I knew I wasn’t the only person in this position and that I would soon find myself on the right path to securing my dream job. I worked part-time at a supermarket which kept me busy, provided me with an income and allowed me to focus on other things alongside building my creative portfolio. As expected, there were times where I did feel disappointed, angry at the world and there was a stage where I thought about giving up the job-hunt. I seemed to be asked the same questions over and over again, ‘so, what are you doing now?’ and ‘what are your plans now you have graduated?’ The pressure was constantly mounting whilst making pizzas in my green apron because the truth was, I had absolutely no idea.

But again, it has been a time of difficulty for everybody, and although I felt like I had little control over my future, I continued to remain positive. I felt like there was an expectation from people that because I had completed a degree, it meant I should automatically get a job straight away which is not often the case, especially during a worldwide pandemic! I tried to gain as much experience as possible whilst completing my degree because I felt like this was a crucial part of preparing to enter the world of work. It was difficult to build this whilst facing a constant flow of ‘you’re unsuccessful’ emails. These knock-backs can be so discouraging but with determination and contacting the right people, you will find you stumble upon great opportunities like I have now.

I took a step back, remained optimistic and put together a plan of what I should do with my time in order to be most efficient. This attitude thankfully paid off as I reached out to CCM Group and I have now become part of an amazing team, enabling me to put my degree skills into practice and gain hands-on experience in the field of marketing. I was absolutely thrilled to be offered a role as a Marketing Assistant with such a great company, but at the same time I had no idea what to expect, with this being my first ever position in the industry. Starting a new job can be difficult at the best of times and entering the working world for the first time during a pandemic adds an extra level of uncertainty. I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly frightened, overthinking scenarios in my head that I would not know or understand anything, ask a stupid question or get stuck in the bathroom (that one actually nearly did happen!) My worries eventually disappeared and the overall feeling of excitement took over. I was thrilled to be starting my career, eager to learn and build upon my skill set.

Thankfully, everyone at CCM Group has been so accommodating, welcoming and supportive with my role so far and I feel excited to get stuck into upcoming marketing projects. I am extremely lucky to now have a position in the industry I want to work in, which I know is not the same for every graduate out there. I think it is so important to remember that everyone is adjusting to the way the world is at the moment and that it is normal to feel disheartened, isolated and tired of not getting anywhere at times - believe me, I have been there! But I think it’s great to take what you can out of this unusual experience and use the time to develop something you are passionate about. My transition into a career during this uncertain environment has not been the easiest, but I am now excited to see what the future brings and to develop my skills and grow alongside CCM Group.