The Class of 2020 is facing some difficult challenges, but they, like other University of Virginia graduates before them, are still poised to make a difference in whatever field they enter, from medicine to technology, business to public service, media, and so many more.
Some are going straight into jobs in health care, joining the many doctors, nurses and staff members already hard at work on the front lines of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Others, like fourth-year student Cameron Greer, are entering the military; Greer will be a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
Still more are pursuing graduate school at UVA and beyond, going for master’s degrees or Ph.D.s in their chosen field, some supported by prestigious scholarships like Marshall Scholar Kristen Barrett, who will study literature at the University of Oxford.
Others, through no fault of their own, have seen their plans rapidly shift. Companies have stopped conducting interviews, or have pushed back hiring dates and internships, and some scholarships and graduate programs also have changed plans for the fall.
“For those who are just beginning the job search, the job market has changed, and it is very challenging,” said Everette Fortner, UVA’s associate vice president of career and professional development. “Companies are uncertain, and so they are delaying hiring plans.”
Right now, Fortner said, the Career Center is focused on helping students prepare and network for when companies do begin hiring again, with virtual one-to-one career counseling sessions, panels and workshops.
“We are advising students to by no means stop their job search, but to change the focus and focus on building their network,” Fortner said. “Then, when companies’ plans become more certain, you will be top-of-mind for them.”