unemployed, going into debt and struggling to pay bills
CNBC’s “College Voices 2020” is a series written by CNBC summer interns from universities across the country on maturity, launching new careers and finding employment during a global pandemic. They find their voice at a time of great social change and hope for a better future. What money problems are they facing? How do they manage their student loans? How do they gain work experience, networking and apply for jobs when so many opportunities have been canceled or postponed? How important are diversity and company values to Gen Z job seekers?
2020 is undoubtedly a difficult time to graduate from college. Seniors who might have thought they would have gotten it right by the time they graduated, mostly accept the effects of the pandemic on the job market, while juggling the stress of student loans. , family layoffs and the devastating health effects of the coronavirus.
In a April 2020 survey conducted by Student Loan Hero, 72% of senior graduates said the Covid-19 crisis has already impacted their post-graduation plans. And, while the unemployment rate has improved since then, 18.6% of people aged 16 to 24 are still unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And, with all the uncertainty in the economy from the coronavirus pandemic, there are more layoffs and hiring freezes, which means it’s even harder to find a job if you’re just getting out of your job. university. In a investigation Out of 132 organizations, the job research platform Talent Board found that 74% of companies cut their hires to some extent, of which 32% completely freeze hires.
So many students have lost their jobs this summer and are having difficulty finding work that it has increased their financial stress. More than a third of students are in debt, of which 17% have taken on credit card debt and 16% have borrowed additional student loans, according to a investigation by Student Loan Hero.
Graham Curry, a recent graduate from the University of Miami in Ohio, shares common concerns about loan repayments and how to make ends meet.
Graham Curry, a recent graduate from the University of Miami in Ohio, hired a freelance design and local tech internship to stay proactive during the pandemic
Photo: Mark Curry
“I’m still figuring out how this is all going to play out,” said Curry, who had received a small reimbursement from the university for tuition fees and had relied on a four-year scholarship for tuition. Curry is also one of many students who returned home at the start of the pandemic, but still had to pay rent on his apartment during the final months of the lease.
“It was really bad paying for a place I didn’t live in. These charges definitely drained my resources,” said Curry.
Curry hopes to use his degree in interactive media studies to work in game design. However, canceled in-person conferences and industry networking events this spring prevented him from meeting other developers and securing a full-time position. His mother was laid off in March and several members of his family contracted and died from the coronavirus, so it has been an emotional struggle for him as well as a financial one.
“It is difficult to deal with your family’s difficulties in such a huge way, but we are doing the best we can, like everyone else.”
Universities have tried to provide financial support to students during these times by decreasing tuition fees, grants and aid programs.
The University of Maryland, among other colleges and universities, received a $ 21 million grant from the Higher Education Emergency Assistance Fund, as part of the implementation of $ 2 trillion CARES Act dollars. This $ 21 million grant was distributed to students seeking financial aid, particularly those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Over 5,000 students have received grant funds to date.
Hannah Roseme, a rising junior at the University of Maryland, said the grant had been a big help.
Hannah Roseme, a rising junior at the University of Maryland, hanging out on the quad ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo: Mia Fillipine
“The Maryland Scholarship Program has provided tremendous help to students like myself, friends and many others I know. We were facing so many financial issues due to the semester ending so quickly – fees rent, meal expenses and obviously due job losses I was unable to continue my babysitting job which helps me finance my time at school – the grant program has really given me a much needed relief during this time so that I don’t get incredibly stressed out about my finances, besides worrying about online school, my well-being and the safety of my family, ”said Roseme, originally from Westport, Connecticut.
For graduates like Curry, doing an internship rather than a full-time job offers a short-term solution to maintaining income, work experience, and relationships. Curry will spend the next three months interning at a local technology company in Dayton, where he hopes to learn coding languages and software development skills.
“I feel like there’s a bit of a bubble right now, which in some cases is quite helpful,” Curry said. “I plan to develop my skills so that I can hopefully find more success later on.”
Another way for graduates to earn extra income and stay proactive is freelance design work. “My motivation to find additional income by freelancing or starting another business has skyrocketed,” said Curry. “Financial independence is so crucial right now, so exploring these sources of income is another thing I do in my spare time.”
Rachel Kivo, a journalism graduate from the University of Kansas, has applied for several jobs every day since graduating. She recently got an internship with the Q Project, a platform that finds creative ways to deliver technology to low-income people.
“I expected to find a job after I graduated, but the offers don’t come so easily, so I can rely on an internship,” she said. Although it is unpaid, Kivo is grateful that she can work from her family home and save money over the next few months while seizing this unique opportunity. “It’s the best option for me because I really love what Project Q is, so I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Without a bright light at the end of the tunnel, it was difficult for the students to try to stay optimistic.
“Honestly, it’s been tough and it’s taking a toll on your mental health,” said Saloni Khushal, a Baylor University graduate, who also feels disheartened by the lack of job opportunities. “The job market is so saturated and you have to remember that everyone is on a different path,” she said.
“But we just have to keep going. No one has planned for this and it’s beyond our control, so we can’t get mad at ourselves,” Khushal added. In the meantime, she helps with the marketing and operations of her family’s hospitality business and holds a part-time unpaid social media job for an online dating platform. Blind love letters.
Baylor University graduate Saloni Khushal uses this time to help her with her family business and take a part-time role in social media.
Photo: Margaret Carissa
“It was especially hard to feel motivated every day when I felt like I didn’t have any structure,” Kivo said. “To create structure, I would write a to-do list and apply for a number of jobs every day. It’s also heartwarming to know that everyone is in the same situation.”
For Curry, self-care and productivity help him stay positive. “I try to use this time to focus on myself. I am learning guitar on my own, working on my web design skills, taking care of plants and even practicing more often. . “
Narbeh Minasians, director of social and digital services at Nickelodeon and a 2008 graduate who entered an equally bleak job market during the financial crisis, notices the similarities in the feelings of 2020 graduates, but more importantly, the added pressures. that this new generation is facing.
“Graduation during a crisis provides an opportunity to really take a break and reset a very tumultuous timeline. For this generation, however, there is information overload everywhere and it can be overwhelming for your business. mental health, ”he said. “Find ways to unplug and not consume negative information all the time. Find other productive uses of your time and put energy into more positive things.”
Minasians also encourages new graduates to make the most of their family and community support, including living at home and taking the time to assess their career options. “When you take the pressure off of having to pay the rent and the bills and ‘adult’ it really allows you to see what your options are and to try things that you normally wouldn’t be able to try.”
“Think abstractly about the skills you want to accumulate,” he added. “There are things that you will need in your future job that can potentially be learned and accumulated through different pathways. Focus on these skills and hone them while you have that time and think about new opportunities for a abstract point of view. “