It's April & if you are a student that can only mean one thing - final assignments & exam prep (ok that was technically two things, but you know what I mean!). This is the time of year when you can almost taste the freedom of summer. Adventure is calling & it’s your duty to answer it!
You've probably already made your post exam plans for that summer internship, J1, backpacking trip, island hopping or inter railing experience but what of those plans now that we find ourselves in the midst a global pandemic? These are uncertain times we live in but in the words of Seamus Heaney "If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere". So, don't put those plans on hold just yet!
There is a lot of uncertainty around the current situation we find ourselves in, let’s not shy away from that, and there are a lot of things that are outside our control right now. However, as a student there are a lot of things that you can control too. My advice to you is to focus on those things right now, the things you can control.
So, what are the things you can control? You can control the effort you put into your final assignments. You can control how you manage your time to ensure you meet set deadlines for those assignments. You can control the preparation you put into sitting your exams. You can control the attitude you choose to adapt towards the current situation. You can control your mindset & your outlook. Most of all you can control asking for support from lecturers, fellow students, friends & family.
For those of you who may be in final year & worried about the job opportunities that may be available to you post-graduation, the stability of the jobs market post COVID-19 domestically & globally is out of your control. So again, my advice to you is to focus on what you can control, your studies. Focus on getting your qualification so that you are ready for the right role when it opens up. The good news here is, you are on the home straight, the final stretch! With final assignment deadline looming, & only weeks to go until the exams themselves, focus on putting your best foot forward. Focus on doing your best. Focus on passing! You’ve worked so hard to get to this point it’s your duty to yourself to now focus on succeeding in obtaining your qualification. Once the exams are behind you then you can focus on updating your CV & your online profile here on Linkedin, or whichever social media platform on which you have chosen to build your brand. Investing time in reviewing & updating your digital footprint once your exams are behind you will help boost your personal brand, so you have the best chance of securing that dream job.
If you are feeling anxious, uncertain, afraid or frustrated right now don’t worry, this is natural & you are not alone. Adapting to online lectures, college at home & potentially remote exams is a huge adjustment. When we look at our current situation, we can adapt the Stop, Start, Continue model:
STOP comparing yourself to others
START re-framing your mindset
CONTINUE to accept that the change will keep changing!
As Einstein once said, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Take this opportunity to focus on the here & now. Focus on what you can control & be safe in the knowledge that the current situation is helping you to build skills that are valuable to an employer in the long-term such as resilience, adaptability & the ability to deliver under pressure. There is no doubt that you will be using examples from this time to answer interview questions in the future.
So, for now, let’s winter this one out together & see where the summer takes us!