Everyone is experiencing mixed emotions and feelings of uncertainty during this time, and senior students set to graduate during spring 2020 are no exception.

As the University of Wisconsin-Superior transitioned into online courses due to COVID-19 and closed campus for students, many seniors had their final year cut short, returning home. Amidst these tough times, adapting to the workforce, their next step after college, may have become much more difficult due to the current climate of employment.

An important resource, the Career Services office located in Swenson Hall 1061 can help ease the stress seniors are feeling. Assistant Director Heather Rickerl can empathize with the uncertainty that seniors are facing, as she too was affected firsthand during the last economic crash in the late 2000s and was seeking a new job.

With a similar situation, Rickerl encourages students to not let the pandemic discourage them. She recalls taking a job that she neither loved nor really wanted to do for long, but one that she gained new skills and learned about a sector of the business that was novel to her. She goes on to explain, “You might have to settle if there aren’t immediate opportunities out there for you right now or even this summer. However, I encourage you to make the most of wherever you land because the majority of skills are valuable and transferable.”

Rikerl addresses the change to online platforms of learning and notices the effect on her line of work. With less students on campus, less students are reaching out to utilize their services. “If you are struggling, please reach out! The supportive staff you know and love from campus are ready to listen” Rickerl states.

During this time students could use extra supports to keep them motivated leading up to graduation and beyond. As Rickerl noted, “While it is frustrating and not at all what any of us signed up for, it is our reality, and we are all experiencing it in different ways.”

UWS senior, Yumi Kawai, returned home to Japan where she was previously offered a job at a Japanese travel agency upon graduation. However, the level of insecurity about how that job will now proceed puts her at unease.

When looking for light in a dark situation, Kawai states, “Meeting my family earlier than expected could be a positive.” It is important to remember to focus on the positives and validate feelings of disappointment.

Kawai said she was glad about the University’s handling of the pandemic, and their efforts to enforce online courses before surrounding schools did. This allowed the international students more time to return safely home.

Kawai had a goal while furthering her education in the United States to attend the graduation ceremony. Having that taken away from her will not diminish her future successes or the work she put in throughout her college career.