A Letter To College Students During This Pandemic

Experiencing a health crisis is tough enough but this economic downturn will have major repercussions. If this is your graduation year, it could mean the loss of summer internships.

Also, there may be uncertainty about job offers you accepted to begin your careers in the Fall. If you are returning to your campuses, it likely will remain difficult with social distancing a requirement.

Every student in college has been impacted. Feeling a sense of loss akin to grief would be totally normal. One day you are at school with an essential structure, mixing your social and academic lives in a healthy blend.

Virtually the next day you are home, remotely learning and with your parents. This abrupt ending to that structure is unsettling.

Every parent wants their children to do better than they did. They want their children to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and have enough wealth to be financially comfortable.

Some federal loans (about 12% of those) do not qualify for relief under the CARE Act. Excluded loans are Perkins Loans and FFEL loans held by commercial lenders. Private loans also are not part of the CARE Act. In any case, contact your private loan servicer to learn about their respective plans to ease payments during this time.

Positives That May Come Out Of This Disruption

1. Remote Learning And Flexible Work Options You may have been rushed into distance learning without ever having taken a class online. Remote learning will only increase in the future. View your experience as being “thrown out of the frying pan into the fire.”

2. Possible Stimulus Check For students who are independent–like many who go to graduate school or are older–you may be entitled to a stimulus check. Being independent means that your parents are not claiming you as a dependent for tax purposes.

3. Use This Time To Plan For Your Career Get your resume up to date and don’t worry about work gaps or internships that were cancelled. Everyone knows the reason why you may not be working this summer. Motivate yourself to use this time to be ready when the job market improves.

4. Do Know Your Major? If Not, Some Suggestions If you are a first year college student, have you settled on a major? Times like these sometimes result in directional changes.

5. Jobs Will Be Created That Do Not Yet Exist True, the job market may be a difficult place for the near term for those graduating this year. Think carefully about alternative options. Public service programs provided attractive employment opportunities after the last recession. If you can’t find a job, consider volunteering in an area of interest where you can learn and have worthwhile experience.

6. Life Lessons For GenZers We are all learning life lessons about this once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, you are young and therefore more pliable than most generations currently in the workplace. Generation Z has some defining characteristics that are essential for the workplace.

In closing this letter to you, I know this is a painful time. You can’t change the circumstances. No one saw this pandemic coming as quickly as it did. Your future may seem a bit cloudy at the moment. Control what you can rather than focus on the negatives. Many experts are working on the health and economic crisis. Let them do their job while you do yours to the best of your ability. Be positive, be proactive and be flexible. Most of all, stay healthy!

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