Message to college seniors: Graduation’s been cancelled and the economy s#cks, but don’t despair

Coronavirus may have changed your circumstances, but you’ve got much to be proud of and more to look forward to.

So here you are cruising through senior spring, finishing graduation projects, getting ready for those big next steps and — whoops…here comes coronavirus. School shuts down and classes are cancelled or have moved online. Friends scatter home and the distance sinks in. This s#cks.

Senior year — normally the time for job searches and prepping to launch into that big, exciting world outside of college — has suddenly become bleak and perhaps fraught with fears about finding employment in this current economy.

If you’re one of the fortunate who’ve secured positions for the fall or summer, congratulations. Be grateful for the opportunity in this crazy climate — and find creative ways to keep yourself active for the weeks or months before your new life begins.

But for those still looking or having been notified their internships or post-college commitments have fallen through, here’s the tough love message: it’s time to start pivoting.

Here are a few tips to help you start moving forward:

  • Don’t stay dejected for too long. It’s a bummer and a loss, but now’s not the time for moping. Start to create goals for yourself and a timeline for achieving them. 
  • Find meaningful work in your community- volunteering, delivering food, running errands for the homebound, making masks, etc. Do some good.
  • Search for businesses in your area that are hiring. While many have cut back, others are thriving in this new world order. Health care, tech, banks, food services, pharmaceuticals are just a few. Here’s a starter list from The Muse. There are still plenty of things to do.

To everyone, employed or not, in the Class of 2020: Yes, it’s a big loss that the last year of your college experience has been cut short. But you’ve got much to be proud of and more to look forward to. This crisis offers all of you great opportunities to be better, do better and be more of what you aspire to be right now.

Go do it!

Doug Ireland is a Piedmont resident and founder of, a career counseling service dedicated to helping young people successfully enter and navigate the job market. NOTE: He has ties to Exedra founder/editor Mary Ireland


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