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How to stay positive and prepare for life after graduation

Job hunting for graduates after COVID-19 turned a once exciting journey into an anxiety-inducing endeavor.

For CSULB 2019 graduate Sydney Morgan, a political science major, finding a job after graduating from college took a while due to work experience required by most employers.

CSULB class of 2019 alumna Sydney Morgan reflects on the positives and negatives of her experience searching for a job after graduation. Courtesy of Sydney Morgan
CSULB class of 2019 alumna Sydney Morgan reflects on the positives and negatives of her experience searching for a job after graduation. / Courtesy of Sydney Morgan

“My experience looking for a job was kind of difficult. I spent a year post undergrad teaching English in South Korea, but when I returned home to Long Beach it was hard to find a job,” said Morgan. “I felt under qualified and lacking in experience. Even entry level jobs that were for an administrative assistant required two to three years.”

According to a 2021 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021, the labor market continues to reflect the impact of COVID-19, where discouraged job-seekers like Morgan, believe that no jobs are available for them.

But in fact, available jobs in the market increased by 121,000 by February, according to the report.

Today, Morgan works as a scheduling coordinator for a recruiting company, and has launched a property management and rental business. She attributes her success largely to internships she had before graduating.

“CSULB helped me prepare for the workforce by helping me with my resume writing and interview skills,” said Morgan. “I did end up getting multiple internships during my undergraduate years in political offices as well as the court house. These experiences helped me to get experience in a real world work setting.”

Morgan said that she remained positive during this time by practicing self-care.

“To offset the stress of job hunting, I would journal, go running, meditate, go on walks, and spend time with my friends,” she said.

Robert E. Emmons, author of “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” writes that “happy individuals are also more creative, helpful, charitable, and self-confident, have better self-control, and show greater self regulatory and coping abilities. Happy people, the facts clearly show, are flourishing and successful people.”

Someone who has a positive attitude and good grasp on their mental health is able to take the circumstances and turn them into something good, like Morgan.

CSULB alumnus Keren Barrera-Garcia searches for an adequate job after graduation. Courtesy of Keren Barrera-Garcia
CSULB alumnus Keren Barrera-Garcia searches for an adequate job after graduation. Photo credit: Bryan Peña

CSULB class of 2021 graduate Keren Barrera-Garcia wants to become a notary but said she has also struggled to find an adequate job in her field.

“I am currently looking for a new job in my major,” Barrera-Garcia said. “It is difficult because in my hometown, there are not many jobs in my major. I am currently working at Target while I explore new opportunities.”

Barrera-Garcia said her job search has caused her stress, but despite this struggle, she has been able to stay positive and excited about her future.

To offset the anxiety that comes with job hunting, self-care is key but so is preparation.

One resource to prepare graduating students is the LBSU Career Link website which has a schedule of events like virtual job fairs, resume writing, and time management workshops that are available for graduating students.

Graduates will have to work harder to be employed in today’s job market but it’s not all bad. A Pew Research article shows how being flexible and adapting as a college grad can help you, so have some hope. The report shows that education level has a higher effect on your ability to work remotely.

So remember to prepare well before graduation, adapt to the circumstances and make good mental health a priority.

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