The batch of students who would be graduating from college this year is not only missing out on the syllabus, exams and academic calendar, but also the last few fun events of college life including the graduation ceremony, mandatory field trips and group pictures which make for memories of a lifetime. Many of them will be entering a job market that would be new to them. A lot of missing out and uncertainty is prevailing for these students across the globe. Some of the most influential people and some concerned seniors have taken it upon them to guide these students through this tough time. Here is a compilation of open letters, lectures, and videos that have been inspiring us recently and we hope they help you too.
Former US president Barak Obama in an address to the class of 2020 said, “Just as you have been looking forward to proms and senior nights, graduation ceremonies…the world is turned upside down by a global pandemic. And as much as I am sure you love your parents, being stuck at home with board games or watching Tiger King on TV is not exactly how you envisioned the last few months of senior year.”
He also highlighted the problems the generation is facing. He commented, “If you planned on going away for college, getting dropped off at the campus in the fall, that is no longer a given. If you are planning to work while going to school, finding that first job is going to be tougher… You will have to grow up faster than some generations…All those adults that used to think were in charge, it turns out they do not have all the answers. Some of them are not even asking the right questions. So, if the world is gonna get better, it is up to you. That realisation might be intimidating, I hope it is also inspiring. With so much uncertainty and everything up for grabs. It is your generation’s world to shape.”
In another address to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), which include world-class varsities such as Hampton University, Lincoln University, Obama remarked, “The world is gonna get better, it is gonna be up to you. It is a big ask during a devastating pandemic and terrible recession that our communities already feel more than painfully than most. But it is your world to shape now. Whether you realise it or not, you have got more talent and resources than any other generation of change-makers.” He concluded, “We could not be prouder of you.”
American politician Kamla Harrison and First Lady of America Melania Trump also addressed the graduating class –
It was an honor to address the class of 2020 at the @WhiteHouse yesterday. These students have proven to the entire world that they possess the strength & resilience of the American spirit. Congratulations class of 2020! pic.twitter.com/AG3wOCQhrn
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 23, 2020
In the Indian context, an IIT alumnus who graduated in 2009 after India was under recession shared an open letter with the batch of 2020 as “one survivor to another”. Shrikant Singh, who now works for Amazon, informed that his campus placement had been rescinded and when he found a contractual position at GE, six months later his contract was not renewed.
He wrote on the social media platform, “In short, life had been super unfair to me. Where was the preferential treatment I was entitled to? Why was I oiling my cycle’s cranky chains rather than travelling the world? Why me?”
“It has been 10 years since then. I survived and so did the class of 2009. Our mindsets changed; failure replaced our brash arrogance with forced humility. We never took anything for granted. The class of 2009 reinvented itself and picked up life survival skills. We were lucky. No other batch could ever appreciate life the way we did,” the post read.
“Class of 2020, you guys are the chosen ones now. Some of you will lose jobs/face salary cuts. That truly sucks; but believe me, you will savor every success henceforth. Your lives & careers are just getting started. So buckle down & grind it out. Good things await you all!”
Earlier this year, when several offers made during campus placement started to recede, director of IIT-Delhi had penned a letter to recruiters. While asking recruiters to keep their offers, he wrote, “We all understand that these are difficult times. But please be considerate to keep your promise. If at all, they are capable of getting you out of recession faster than you can imagine.”