College students prepare to enter economy during pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- College seniors are experiencing challenging times as they prepare for their new journeys.

University of Houston senior Joseph Tajik said his scrapbook is his daily reminder that it's all about the journey.

But for Tajik and many other 2020 graduates, the journey is not what they expected. After all these years of study, he's looking for a job as an accountant.

"I originally had a couple of interviews lined up and was looking at getting offers, but now I'm having to refocus things for the fall," Tajik said.

That scenario sounds familiar to fellow UH graduate, Ruben Distinguin, who graduated with a degree in marketing and is currently looking for a job.

"All of the opportunities I had got put on hold. So, I'm kind of waiting it out," Distinguin said. "You go through college thinking you know what's going to happen. You go to college, you get a job and four years later you're grinding, grinding, and boom, nothing happens. It's definitely a shocker. While I was applying for jobs back in January, February and March, I was also applying for grad school."

Jamie Belinne, the assistant dean for career and industry engagement at UH Bauer College of Business, said she's acknowledging the fact that these are tough times for graduating seniors, but she says not all hope is lost for those who are aggressive and networking.

"If you crawl in bed, pull up the covers and wait for this to end. Then you're going to be unemployed for a long time," Belinne said. "There are still jobs. They are more competitive and it's taking longer to get them, but the people who are out there actively looking are the ones who are going to get it."

The key for graduates is to be flexible, keep pushing forward and to stay positive.

"There's ups and downs, there's good and there is definitely some bad, but ultimately, I'm not going to be upset about this," Tajik said. "I'm going to be positive about this because this is an opportunity for me to become stronger and flexible."

The best advice, and it applies to anybody looking for work, is to keep networking and keep reaching out to companies. They may not be hiring now, but by connecting now you could be at the top of their lists when they are.

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