As part of the navigate series, Sonali Shukla, Careers Adviser here at the CS, discusses building ourselves up and being kind in our career planning during the pandemic
I’m going to be completely honest. This blog post has been on my to-do list longer than I care to admit. The low-level stress from the uncertainty of the global pandemic and its repercussions is there in the background of everything.
If you’re coming to the end of your time at Cambridge, it may seem daunting to even contemplate the future. Maybe you had everything mapped out, but circumstances didn’t allow you to execute your plans. Maybe your plan was to explore international opportunities, but travel is severely limited. Or maybe you just don’t know where you can go with your degree and the prospect of exploring it is in and of itself daunting. In the context of planning for your career it’s important to remember that everybody has been affected by the global pandemic and it’s okay to feel a lack of motivation.
How can we build resilience, knowing it is important but also feeling like it’s just one more thing to do? In this blog, we will give you a few tips on how to build resilience into your career planning strategy.
Step one is to acknowledge the circumstances.
Acknowledging what you feel you’ve missed out on can allow you to find creative ways to fill the gaps.
It’s okay to feel disappointed that your summer internship didn’t pan out last year and it’s okay to be frustrated that your laboratory experiences are not the same as someone who graduated two years ago. Acknowledging what you feel you’ve missed out on can allow you to find creative ways to fill the gaps. Many opportunities that would have once been only in person are now available online and are a great way to bridge gaps in your experience.
Think of the new opportunities, rather than those lost.
Learning to adapt to the situation requires creative thinking and taking advantage of opportunities that come your way. Perhaps you always wanted to work for a big company in London but the cost of living is prohibitive. Now with remote working being the norm, that possibility may be a reality. If you wanted to do museum work, maybe now is the time to really develop your online curation skills through social media or other networks. There are pros and cons that come with big changes. Look for ways to turn the current situation to your advantage.
You can also get virtual experience through the University and directly from leading companies using Forage. You can enrol as a student for free.
Take things step-by-step.
Sometimes the overall planning of your career can seem like an unsurmountable task. By developing a bite-size action plan, you can help to alleviate some of the stress around big questions and uncertainty. Even just setting aside a bit of time on a regular basis to explore careers and resources can get the ball rolling. Our Navigate YouTube playlist is a great place to start and be pointed to our various resources, as well as our other YouTube videos. You can also check out our Careers A-Z if you’re looking for ideas.
Finally, remember to be kind to yourself.
Missed opportunities and rejections are part of finding a career path that works for you, even in the absence of a global pandemic. Remember to take care of yourself. The University Counselling Service provides free counselling and workshops, you can find their Lent term timetable here, or you can speak to your Tutor or a similar member of staff in college.
We also recommend Student Space for support and resources right now. Here are some of their articles which you may find useful: