Dear Graduating Class of 2020...

Firstly, congratulations are in order. You did it! Despite everything, you did it!

We’ve lost a lot of the experiences we should have had as a right of passage. We haven’t been able to say goodbye to our friends and classmates. We couldn’t get that iconic photo of ourselves holding our dissertation titles in front of our university signs. The hat-throwing boomerang you were so excited for, wearing the special dress you bought months ago in preparation for graduation? Yeah, that’s not happening.

It’s been a weird year, for everyone. But while the GCSE and A-Level cohort have been supported by government, university students have flown under the radar, fighting their own battles for support. Most universities implemented a no-detriment policy, but what that meant for each individual was very different and personal. Some institutions opted for a grade average policy, others for multiple submissions. An already uneven playing field, further undulated by Russell Group preferential treatment and, as ever, a complete inability of institutions to listen to their students in their time of crisis.

Now, you might be pleased with how your university handled things, and that’s awesome. But I bet there’s still a small part of you that’s concerned about what your future looks like, and who could blame you? Daily news articles about the crashing job market, what a bad time it is to be a graduate, rising interest rates etc.

It’s a crazy time to have to re-figure out your whole life.

The good news is, you don’t need to panic. It might feel at the moment that the odds are totally weighted against you – you did three years at university to land your dream job and now that job doesn’t even exist?! – but if we can learn anything from history it is that it’s completely cyclical.

This is actually a time of massive opportunity if you choose to look at it that way. There are still jobs out there, in your field, it may just take looking a little harder, for a bit longer. Maybe this is a good time for you to evaluate your future – now you’ve really got some time to consider it, would continuing your education in some way be more beneficial? If you’re really honest with yourself, are your career goals actually the same as they were when you started university? Maybe you’d prefer to follow a hobby or interest of yours and see where that could take you.

These are scary questions that do require a little bit of soul searching, and potentially making yourself a bit uncomfortable. You might be worried about having wasted your time so far if you decide to change your path now. Don’t be. Without your experiences so far you wouldn’t be at this point, with the confidence and ability to make these decisions. And if it doesn’t work out, you can start again. The beauty of your twenties is that this is the perfect time to reinvent yourself over and over.

Class of 2020, you have been incredible.

Not only have you finished your degree, which is a feat in itself, you did it in the midst of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. You should be so proud of yourselves. I’m proud of you. We will get our boomerang, it’s just taking us a little longer to get there.


Blog post author: Caitlin Dalton

Like many twenty-somethings, Cait graduated in 2020, probably the most challenging time to ever graduate. Since graduating, Cait has been unique in the fact that she saw a need for a role in her local council, so pitched for it and created her own job!

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