The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected working styles across the globe. The same is true at Cerrell: we’re all working from home, including us interns! Our intern class is made up of recent graduates and graduate students, who have had to adjust not only to remote work but to remote school as well during this time of transition.
This change isn’t easy, affecting all of us interns in different ways and posing a challenge as we look to begin our professional careers and step into the workforce at a time of such uncertainty. And although the job market may be slow to pick up, we remain hopeful, and for now have found a sort of solidarity amongst each other and within chaos—feeling lucky to still have our wonderful internships with Cerrell!
Here are some of our thoughts and personal experiences during this pandemic:
As I began my senior year, I understood my passion for campaigns would create a more fluid post-grad path than my finance friends who already had offers since August. Even knowing this, I had no idea how fluid it would actually be once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As graduation grew closer with only a soft plan at best, my anxiety was mounting. Combined with the loss of two months with my friends, my last lecture, and walking across a graduation stage, I felt lost and robbed. However, after having a proper pity party for myself, I began talking to my friends to find my situation was not unique. Jobs offers had been postponed or revoked, plans to move to New York were on hold, and our parents’ basements were starting to look pretty cozy.
Knowing I wasn’t alone played a massive part in my friends recognizing that, for now, this is life and we can either make it the best we can under the circumstances or continue playing the world’s smallest violin in pity. Thankfully, among those friends were my Cerrell family, who understood the uncertainty that came with graduating in the middle of a pandemic and gave the other interns and I the opportunity to stay ‘home’ with them a little longer.
My goal at the beginning of senior year was to have a job by December. By Christmas, it was to have an offer by March. By spring break, it was to get home as soon as possible. As I adjusted to life back home, many people offered pity and sympathy for the class of 2020, including myself. Honestly, I wasn’t too upset about not having a graduation. I was more upset about finishing school—it was difficult to leave the nest. On top of that, to leave the nest in the middle of a pandemic? Terrifying.
Still, I quickly came to realize that it’s not only terrifying for me, but also for everyone else. Talking to my friends (like my fellow Cerrell interns) who were going through the same thing created a sense of solidarity. We all agreed: this was not the ideal situation, but it has to end sooner or later. Right now, I’m glad to continue my internship with Cerrell to keep me busy and build my skills this summer. After the pandemic ends and we search for our next endeavor, please keep us in your emails and resumes!
Throughout undergrad and now in my Master’s program, my strategy has always been to have an internship lined up right after my current position. It became part of my seasonal routine, and recently I had earned an internship at the California Department of Finance, an opportunity that I had been waiting for since undergrad, as it was only for graduate students. As COVID-19 became more prevalent, my excitement gradually faded and disappeared when I received the letter, along with thousands of my peers, informing me that the internship has been canceled.
With so much uncertainty in the air, from not knowing when we can work in the office or attend classes on campus, I wonder how this will affect every job seeker after the pandemic. While some students managed to find opportunities, there are surely too many students who will be figuring out how to use this summer to learn and build up their resumes until the job market recovers. I hope that HR departments will do their best to understand each situation and keep an eye out for those who were most affected by the pandemic.
In times of uncertainty, it can be natural to cope by munching on your favorite snack or staring off into the distance, imagining how things would be if the given circumstances did not exist. As a young adult, still adjusting to the “real world,” coping mechanisms are common because of the unknown which lies ahead. Nearing the end of an internship when the job market is unfavorable is not ideal but stepping back and looking at the big picture has kept me grounded. Many are going through these uncertain times in one way or another.
Having Cerrell to lean on has made me realize how lucky I am to be working at a fantastic firm with professionals. Cerrell has been the glimmer of light that has kept me motivated and occupied while the stay-at-home orders are in place. I am confident that my time with Cerrell will prepare me for the next chapter of my life when the time is right.
It has not been easy to graduate or look for jobs during this crisis, but we are glad to still have our internship positions at Cerrell, and are grateful for an awesome staff that’s cheering us on!