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Fresh Grads On Career Plans In 2020: “It made me think of how I can adjust"

While they had to make some adjustments, it's not all hopeless.
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/_isabelpadillaa, victoriafabella

The COVID-19 pandemic proved that it’s not just a global health concern. Its effects are also felt in different fields and industries. Businesses are closing down, individuals are losing jobs, and economies are failing. Career-wise, it’s not as easy to set out on your passions as it was before, especially for fresh college graduates who had envisioned their life goals but had to shift priorities at the last minute to adapt to the “new normal.”

Three different fresh college graduates opened up about how their their career plans shifted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while they had to make some adjustments, it’s not all hopeless. Here are a few things to pick up from their personal stories.

You may not be meant for one thing, but there’s something else just as good that’s in store for you.

Isabella Padilla, a BA Sociology graduate from UP Diliman, shared that she initially spent a semester in law school before realizing that’s not for her. “I thought that being a lawyer was the only way I could help our country the way I wanted to,” she says. “But I had a change of heart. I spent (a long and tiring) semester in laws chool, then realized that it just wasn’t for me. I really didn’t see myself being isolated and reading 24 hours a day for the next four years of my life. Don’t get me wrong though, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.”

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Now though, despite the quarantine restrictions and difficult economic situation, Isabela embarks on a new career journey in the finance and banking industry. “I was actually very fortunate to land a job during the ECQ. I currently work as an Operations Analyst in one of the biggest multinational banks in the world,” Isabela shares. “Although this is my first job and the circumstances are quite extraordinary, I’d have to say that working from home has been a blast! I get to sleep as much as I can and don’t have to go through the hassle of driving to work every day. Another bonus is that I get to spend all my extra time with family.” 

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Sometimes, a little uncertainty could help steer you in a better path. “I really kept my options open to different career paths. I didn’t exactly have a first choice but I weighed all my options in terms of career growth and opportunities. I’d say that being in the banking industry has been a privilege since it is deemed an essential business and is not as greatly affected by the pandemic.”

Things may have changed, but you can still work on passions, slowly but surely.

Margaux Nonato, a BS Marketing Management from De La Salle University, had already started thinking about her future before graduation. “Actually before the pandemic, I was planning and thinking about where I can apply, also what I can do after graduation because I didn’t wanna waste time,” Margaux shares. “[When the pandemic happened], everything changed. Because of the situation, some companies started closing down, a lot of people are losing their jobs, which made me think of how I can adjust or even adapt to everything that’s happening in terms of my career path.”

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Despite the change, Margaux kept herself busy with things she enjoys doing. Eventually, it led her to something she could earn money from. “That didn’t stop me from being productive and thinking of ways to help myself,” she says. “I just kept working out and cooking, trying out new things until I started putting up a small business called @mardough.mnl. Now I’ve been selling cookies, and so far so good, I’ve been getting good feedback and its such a blessing in disguise cause I thought I wouldn’t be able to actually work and do something due to this pandemic.”

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Some plans won’t push through now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them happen in the future.

Victoria Fabella, a Fine Arts graduate from UP Diliman, had one thing she knew for sure—that she didn’t want a job that confined her to an office. What she hoped for was to try many things related to her field and passion. “A few months ago I didn’t have specific plans on what I was gonna do after college graduation,” she says. “I mean of course I had ideas in mind about what field I wanted to be in, what I wanted to do... but I didn’t really know where to start. And since I’ve always wanted to enter the visual arts scene, and to act in films (it’s also a dream of mine to become an actress), my plans were to join group exhibits, sell paintings, audition for films, and start an online clothing business. But what scared me then is that I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out since I knew na I didn’t want an office job naman.”

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Now that she’s just at home, though, Victoria had some time to really think about her future plans, especially now that the threat of the pandemic is still fresh. She might not be able to pursue everything on her list at the moment and might have to compromise a bit. “This quarantine actually gave me—aside from anxiety :(—more time to think and plan for my life after college. I also realized na with this new normal, I might have to look for a job (at least for now) to save up for a business and future projects.”

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While reality right now may be different from what she envisioned before, she’s hopeful that she’ll get to set out on fulfilling her passions and life goals again in the future. “Right now, my blockmate and I are about to launch an online store. I also had time to work on my commissions and personal projects to add to my portfolio. Nothing much changed with my plans. They’re just delayed (I hope).”

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Mylene Mendoza
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I was, but I am not. Desperately, I am trying to reach you – my hope. I am in this particular space in my own constructed world where doubts and frustrations recur. Emphasizing how scared I am being here, I never explored this area before. I was always in those places filled with benevolence, hope shining like the light the sun and the moon possess. And I didn’t have any plans to visit a ‘dark’ place, as how I described it then. But, as funny as how my world suddenly flipped, I am now here, completely lost with monsters persuading me to go insane.

How did I end up here? I can’t logically tell you the answer for that, but I guess, I know when. It started when I had to consider what college course do I want to pursue. Well, if you want to ask what ambition had occurred in my mind when I was young – which is usually the case in terms of life when you were like 7-year-old young - it was definitely being a doctor. I’d thought about wearing a medical coat with a stethoscope around my neck, ready to cure people from their illnesses. It was actually stuck in my mind for so long I almost thought that I was sure of it, yet, as a particular song yields, almost was never really enough and still, it is and will never be.

When I realized that such a perspective was slowly draining me, I tried my best to stand tough. I convinced myself that this was just temporary, that I could think of a way out of this. “There’s still plenty of time,” I once convinced myself. However, my environment demonstrated the contrary: I felt like I was completely out of time.

I was there when my classmates were happily talking about that ‘dream course’ they wish to take in their ‘dream university.’ I was there when my family was suggesting the thought of using my ‘suitable’ speaking voice for broadcasting and voice acting purposes. I was there when my teacher was convincing me that Education suited me the best. That ‘Stand tough!’ aura I used to own back then, suddenly transformed into ‘I give up!’ state, slowly destroying my being. And now, I am here in this space where doubts and frustrations are filling my former enthusiastic self. I need help.

I know, at this point, some of you may never consider me ‘fatal’ because, as you’re reading this, you may judge that I still have the ability to transform my thoughts into words that can be read, so that ‘automatically’ falls into the aspect of complete sanity. No, because I will never tell everything to you in the first place if I still have the urge to stand like I used to, relative to my belief that speaking up through writing is the best way to attract help.

When you look at the photo of mine above, you may say that I was okay. That I was successful. That I was never losing myself. Yes, I was. But, think about what happened days after that was taken and the message of this passage you started reading minutes before, do you think I am still the same girl smiling in the photo? I hope I will be or better yet, improve if the world will permit me. But, now I’m sure – I’m not the same.

LIFE ADVICE YOU NEED TO HEAR WHILE YOURE STILL YOUNG

This blog is dedicated to all teens out there struggling in determining what they really want in their life or if you simply want a glow up. And since were still facing a pandemic, I think this is also a season where everyone is re-thinking about their lives. So, I hope these advices might help you.

Tip #1. TAKE RISK - since most of you are still young, I advice you to take your biggest risk. Whether it may be taking the course you want, a skill you want to acquire or just simply taking the risk to throw away your emotional baggage from your childhood. While you're still young, you have very little to lose. You dont have that much commitments and responsibilities. Because the older you get, the more responsibilities and obligations came. So when they are still not piling up, take the risk! As for me, the biggest risk I took when I was still a teenager is to CUT OFF TOXIC FAMILY TIES.

I may sound rude here but, yeah. I decided to throw away my emotional baggage from my traumatic childhood and cut off some of my family ties and it is completely okay! You dont have to be bothered by whatever they will say. Because at your age, you are already investing on your growth as a person. If you really want to grow, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME FOR YOU TO TAKE RISK BUT NOW. Because in taking risk you are actually giving yourself a reward of getting something amazing or beyond what you expect you can have. As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind that the bigger the risk, the bigger possibility of FAILURE. But that is completely OKAY. Because just like what I said earlier, you are still young. You dont have so much to lose so, dont be afraid to take the risk and then fail. But after failing, learn from it and the more courage you have to take risk the greater the learning, reward or happiness. Ito na nga, how to take risk nga ba? And what are the risk that would actually help me to grow? #

2: VOICE LESSON - dont get me wrong, hindi ito vocalization para sa pagkanta. What I mean is, learn to listen to that VOICE INSIDE YOU. Listen to your heart, to your intuition and to your visions because it will be your GUIDE. Because I realize that as you go along your journey of your life and if you really want to be YOURSELF and be successful in achieving your goals, the only GUIDE that you should follow is your OWN VOICE.

It is okay to take and consider other people's advices but at the end of the day,you should never forget to listen to your own voice. Because that voice is what tells you what you truly want. How would you know that if it is your 'own' voice? Your own voice always comes from your HEART. The voice where YOU and GOD'S voice are one. Because I firmly believe that God knows your heart and that is where he reside. I like journaling because whenever I journal my thought every night and every morning, I feel a dual voice inside my head. Like, it contradicts what the other voice is telling. For example: If we have dreams or goals that puts us so much weight and pressure to the point that it makes you exhausted, STOP. Because it might be a dream or goal of someone else. I believe that your own dreams and goals may be frustrating most of the time, but that frustration has fueling feeling that will always tell you that 'This is the hard way to better so keep going'. Frustration in your own dreams will not make you feel exhausted because achieving a dream itself is a fulfilling feeling.

#3. TAKE ACTION - if you really want something to happen, take action. Dont just sit there and wait things to come your way. Make action or decisions that will take you to where you want to go in your life. Just like what I said in one of my novels that I am writing in wattpad, "There is no such thing as destiny or fate. Because YOU make your OWN life choices." For example, I cannot expect to be a published author if I dont write any novels right? The bottomline here is, if you are not moving forward you are actually moving backward. And it is a sad thing. Life is full of situations where you will be put in the line whether you take courage or just stay where you are. Because GROWING needs consistency in moving forward. So if you dont have to enough courage to take action, your life will always stay the same or worse you will continuously shrink down.

#4. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS - this means stretching your comfort zone. I watched an anime entitled "Black Clover" there is a captain there where he always tell his subordinates to surpass their limits right, here right now. Going out of our comfort zones are surely scary and uncomfortable. But you have to accept the fact that you cannot stay on the coast forever. You have to change, because the only thing that is constant in this world is change right? Go out of your comfort zones because LIMITS are just in the MIND. There are disabled people who are successful in their own careers. Because the lesson here is, if you hold back there will be no growth. Because GROWTH blooms in DISCOMFORT.

Last, #5. INVEST IN YOURSELF - especially now that you are still young, you should focus on investing on yourself more. Time is your bestfriend at this point of your life. You have so much time to discover things about yourself. I never regret buying and reading books that I never knew will help me later on in dealing life's challenges. You can use that time to read books, gain wisdom, or pick a new skill, improve your talent and learn from your experiences. Keep learning outside your home or your school. Because the real battlefield is OUTSIDE. What you learn in school will only help you in your career but your wisdom and experiences will help you in life or as a person. People who doesnt embrace growth will never succeed in their life. (This is a reflection blog from my 21st birthday last week. I hope you can feature this on your page and I hope it can help others as well. )

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