Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Graduating students feel anxious about post-grad job search

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Graphic by Ally Bruemmer

Many students graduating this May are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about finding job opportunities for employment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior Kayla Patek said she feels anxious because she had a job set up to work at the Jefferson County Clerk Office from May to November for the election, but lost the position when the election was called off.

Some students have additional stressors when it comes to the job search.

“I’ve had emotions from grief to anxiety,” Patek said. “I’m in the process of searching right now, but it’s hard due to my vision impairment.”

Some students said they were already frazzled about what the next step was before COVID-19 changed their living situations, and a way of learning and canceled internships.

Senior social work major Emily Hoffmeister said she felt mixed emotions because she wanted to attend graduate school immediately, but it was just too expensive at the moment.

“I’ve been looking for a job in the St. Louis area since that’s where I’m from,” Hoffmeister said. Even before the pandemic, it’s difficult to find a job in a bigger city like St. Louis with just your bachelor’s degree and not much experience.”

During Hoffmeister’s job search, she was worried about her safety and working remotely.

“I was most worried about being able to find a job after graduation,” Hoffmeister said. “Most social workers are working remotely and meeting virtually with clients and many agencies are not wanting to hire people while social distancing unless it’s a crucial position.”

She said she was also worried about workplace safety if she isn’t able to work remotely.

“Since social work is considered essential, we are often overlooked and unappreciated for the work we do,” Hoffmeister said. “Not a lot of people think to include us when distributing supplies such as masks and gloves to essential workers.”

In the midst of her mixed emotions, Hoffmeister was relieved when she was offered a position with Adapt of Missouri, where she will work with adults in the St. Louis area with mental illness and work on daily life skills.

Students have used Career Services to help them navigate through these uncertain times.

More importantly, they frequently post job opportunities via Facebook about helpful tips for resume building, possible job openings and other useful tools to continue to help equip students to be successful.

Graduating senior Dominick Gillette gave an analogy on how the posts were a big help for him.

“Career Services is like a boxing corner and they have the water bottle, stool and spit bucket in hand because this pandemic and 2020 is the opponent,” Gillette said. “They give more optimism and hope more than anything.”

Gillette said Career Services made the nerves go away for him because they send out opportunities for the summer via LinkedIn or email.

Director of Career Services Dan Presson gave insight on the mindset students are in that come to him for help.

“Right now, what I’m hearing is that students are just generally questioning, ‘What is going on?’, ‘How does this affect me?’, ‘How does this affect my job search and employers?’ are what students are mostly asking rightfully since there are a lot of question marks out there,” Presson said.

Presson said his biggest advice for students is to remain patient.

“What I tell my students is to just give it time,” Presson said. “Take a deep breath, give it time. We will figure out when those jobs will open, when those internships will open, we will figure out when more of those companies are hiring.”

To receive assistance from Career Services, visit