By Liz Calvo
As this pandemic continues to sweep the nation, forcing students to stay at home, Barry students wonder what their future in the workforce will look like.
The main problem— many job listings are closed or out of market due to the current state of our economy because of the pandemic.
Sidney Vest, recent Barry alumna and criminology major, said it has been very difficult looking for a job post-graduation during the pandemic.
“Trying to learn how to use the search sites and boards to find employment is very strenuous and tedious,” said Vest. “It takes a lot of time and can be very draining when you put in all of that work in trying to find a job but you do not hear anything back from any of the jobs that you have applied for.”
As for students looking for internships, just like looking for a job, there aren’t many options there either.
Barry senior Andres Guillen is a senior and television and digital media major who struggled during an internship over the summer.
“It was awful. My boss was unwilling to let us work remotely so I ended up moving full-time to California as a result,” he said. “She also refused to properly follow social distancing orders, asking us to meet in the small office on occasion.”
Moreover, another issue that students are facing relate to the quality of their education. Do students feel as though they are prepared for their careers or internships while taking their classes online?
“Although having my classes virtually has somewhat prepared me for my internship, remote work wasn’t an option,” said Guillen. “So, my experience at my summer internship was just like before the pandemic when everything was done in-person.”
Vest felt that she was very prepared to tackle the workforce.
“I was blessed to have such amazing professors my last semester at Barry University, they made sure to have a class when needed and continued their office hours and made themselves always available,” she said. “Although I missed out on conducting some laboratory experiments in my class, my professors made sure I had all the skills necessary for my career.”
Director of Barry’s Career Development Center John Moriarty said that the center has experienced some drastic changes since the start of the pandemic this spring.
“Prior to the pandemic, the center averaged around 50 individual career counseling appointments per month. When the pandemic first hit, the numbers of individual appointments dropped significantly, almost about 15% decreases when compared to the summer of 2019,” he said.
Moriarty said the center also had to pivot quickly to be able to provide students with virtual services.
“We began having weekly video workshops every Monday and Wednesday to educate students on how to adjust to this new virtual world and answered questions that they had,” he said.
Moriarty said his staff surveyed employers to see what how the pandemic was impacting them and invited them to participate in their virtual workshops.
“We researched and sent out emails identifying those companies that were/are actively hiring for critical jobs and converted our resume walk-in hours to virtual walk-in hours,” he said.
Overall, Moriarty expressed that the Career Development Center faced their own set of difficulties in the virtual environment.
“Like everyone else, the Career Center has had to find new ways of doing things by learning new technologies and adapting them to fit our needs, this has been both frustrating and rewarding at the same time,” he said. “Another challenge has been getting the word out to let students know that we are here to help them during these difficult times.”
Moriarty advises students that they should be spending time reflecting on what they have learned from this experience so that they may articulate that to an employer.
If you are looking for assistance in your resume, or seeking out a job or internship opportunity, please seek out the Career Development Center in the R. Kirk Landon Student Union in Suite 205 or online at https://www.barry.edu/career-development-center/