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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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Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

Ry Fabella Just now

Hello! Sharing my first story in Wattpad!

TITLE: Whisper to the Stars AUTHOR: https://www.wattpad.com/user/withniji

GENRE: Teen Fiction/Romance STORY LINK: https://my.w.tt/Y3HeLPe9K7

Description: Ingrid Gianna "Gigi", a breadwinner of her family, has kept her feelings hidden for Hayme, her long time high school crush, because she has too much responsibilities in life; believing that she has no time for love. But, no matter how hard she tries to suppressed it for years, fate always finds its way....like it was already written in the stars.

COLLEGE SURVIVAL TIPS: IS BEING ALONE MEANS WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH, OR ELSE, MAYBE IT'S JUST YOUR OWN WAY TO SURVIVE.

College is a Matter of Survival. It is more on trusting and relying on YOURSELF, alone. College is not a race, it's like a journey, a journey of hardships, circumstances, and challenges that, to some extent, will push you to give up, so you must set your goals and take risks. College is far from being a junior or senior high school, so there's no more room for easy-going attitudes.

It is better to suffer now than to regret your actions in the future. I've learned these things and continue doing it right now. College made me realize that you'll meet temporary people in your life, some of them stay, but others not, they vanish, and soon you become strangers to them. It's okay to make friends, but you must know how to set your limitations with them. Also, don't forget to think wisely, there are some whose only seasonal friends. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you accompanied each other, and still, you have yourself. Being alone doesn't mean you avoid people coming into your life, it's just that, you know how to distance yourself from people you don't feel to get along with, and that's OKAY. The thing about college is, you'll meet different types of people who will help you to open up your mind to be more matured enough to the point that you will become more understanding rather than start an argument. There's nothing to be afraid of being alone, you just need to accept the facts and consequences.

Little by little, you will witness yourself develop from how much you've grown, and be grateful for that because you overcome those situations that trigger you to give up. I share these things with you that may be applicable to your upcoming college life and leaving this message to you. 'Don't hesitate to take risks to success, it will be paid off someday. Let God help you and do your very best.' #CollegeSurvival

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