By Liz Calvo
As the end of the fall semester approaches, many seniors are getting ready to graduate and begin a new chapter in their lives. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still at large, plans may need to be adapted.
Seniors are wondering: Should they move forward with their career plans? Is travelling still a possibility? Do they need to reevaluate their plans?
Janyce Conde, a senior majoring in graphic design, believes that even if it means taking precautions, seniors should follow through with their graduation plans.
Tamia Leslie, also a senior graphic design major, agrees with Conde.
“The pandemic has impacted many people negatively, but we should do the best we can within hard times,” said Leslie.
Students intending to travel should research their potential destinations. Some locations require tourists to quarantine for precaution, which will take time out of their vacation days. In addition, even with a negative COVID test, many places require masks.
“I felt that traveling has become a bit harder,” said Conde. “A person has to be tested before traveling to wherever they are going, follow the country's rules, and be quarantined before doing [activities].”
Beyond quarantine rules, the pandemic created significant drops in airfare prices.
Hopper, a travel trends analyst website, reported that, “Airfare is estimated to drop 10 [percent] into September until late November 2021, the average round-trip domestic flight costing $260.”
Still, the prices are likely to rise by 11 percent between late November and December, according to Hopper, but prices will still be lower than pre-pandemic prices.
In addition, hotel prices have decreased significantly. NerdWallet, a financial analyst website, reported “...an average price of $186 per night in 2020 compared to $274 per night at the same hotels in 2019 — a 32 [percent] drop.”
Despite the potential price drops, students believe traveling is still expensive.
“When the pandemic first started, traveling was extremely cheap,” said Leslie. “However, I feel now that things are semi-normal, traveling is expensive.”
Graduate School vs. Job Prospects
Besides vacation plans, however, further education and career paths are on the minds of graduating seniors.
According to a blog at Northeastern University, students searching for graduate schools should focus on studying their passions while also keeping their career goals in mind. Making sure students are getting a program they love that will benefit them in their future is crucial.
“Grad school isn’t undergrad,” said Shaunie Marshall, the associate director of the career center. “Your area of study is narrow and more focused, so it’s important to know exactly what you want to study and have passion for the subject.”
Instead of grad school, however, many graduates might decide to jump right into the workforce. Leslie is one of those students.
“The goal is to start working immediately after graduation, but I know it’ll take some time,” said Leslie. Leslie believes it could be harder for some people with less experience to get a job. Still, because of the “hiring influx” many businesses are having, there may be many job openings.
Despite these openings, some people are not fully willing to start working.
“There are a ton of job openings, yet many people who want to work can't get hired,” said Conde. “Low-paying jobs that don’t come with benefits are not the types of jobs workers are eager to take.”
Leslie agrees, adding that a lot of finding a job is about networking.
"When trying to find a job, it's not about what you know. It's about who you know,” she said.
Regardless of what students have planned, graduation is creeping around the corner, so it is important for students to plan best for themselves and their future. Most of all, students should enjoy the rest of their senior year!