Pandemic graduates on job search concerns

Just imagine for a moment that you’ve graduated with your degree. Whether that be your master’s degree or just your undergraduate degree, you’re finally done with college.

But now, you can’t find anywhere to work. You call every business that has any job you could remotely want, but no one is hiring due to the pandemic.

This is what happened to Beau DuCote, a spring 2020 graduate of kinesiology sports management.

DuCote said he struggled to find a job and had to move in with his friend’s family. He collected unemployment until he received a job in August as a long-term substitute at Ouachita Parish High School.

Yet, getting this job was still a process. DuCote couldn’t contact any of the schools because they were closed due to the pandemic.

“It was hard to get in touch with principals to apply. Eventually I talked to someone that works at Neville about applying,” DuCote said. “He got my phone number to some principals which is how I was finally able to make contact with schools.”

DuCote is not the only one struggling to find or maintain jobs during this time. According to Pew Research, the U.S. unemployment rate jumped from about 4% in February to about 14% in April.

The current unemployment rate is nerve-racking, but some students have a positive outlook on the future, like Abigail Wise who graduates in December.

“Of course, I have some fear of the future and what job opportunities will look like,” the communication major said. “But I also think I am in a field that is very much needed in this time. The great thing about public relations is you can work remote or in an office.”

Shakendra Dorsey, a graduate gerontology student who is also graduating this December, said she had no worries about getting a job because of her current occupation.

“I’m currently working with the elderly population which is one of the most vulnerable populations that will need continued support and I believe jobs will always be available,” Dorsey said.

Yet, Dorsey and Wise were both upset about how their time at ULM ended. Dorsey moved away from Monroe for her job and said she misses tailgating at games with her sorority sisters.

Wise said she wishes she could have spent more time in the classroom and told her peers goodbye.

While Dorsey and Wise will miss their time at ULM, DuCote recommends getting a head start in finding a job before you graduate.

“Start looking now. Get to know the people in charge of the places you want to work. Build those relationships,” DuCote said.