Riley Rittenhouse

Graduating in the middle of a pandemic

Feb 7, 2022

Finding a job right out of college is a huge success, but doing it while in the middle of a pandemic is something that no one was prepared for. The struggles that came with trying to be a student and making that transition into the professional world are some of the most difficult times I have faced.

Many of us were forced to quickly adapt to remote learning and the new class structures that teachers were implementing. I grew to enjoy remote work and school but sometimes struggled with finding a balance between school and life when my bedroom was also my classroom. I'm thankful that my program had the capabilities to transition to remote learning easier and keep a similar routine to in-person learning. Before I knew it, my senior year flew by and I suddenly needed to find a job after graduation.

My initial job search led me to companies that wanted years of experience for entry-level jobs and left me feeling discouraged about my job prospects. I was hesitant to continue looking for jobs when I knew my résumé and level of experience were not what was wanted by employers. Instead of continuing my search, I did what any anxious college student would do and procrastinated.

I ended up taking time to develop different skills and dedicate time to hobbies that I had picked up during the pandemic. During this time I also worked on making connections to other professionals in the design industry by sharing some of my work and learning more about their roles. Some of these connections turned into job opportunities and were a great way of taking me out of my comfort zone without the pressure I would've felt had I applied to these companies.

In the end, my desire to keep learning and making connections led me to a career at Rapid where I can fuel my passion for design and continue my efforts to grow as a designer and a person. I'm very lucky to have ended up somewhere that I enjoy being at and that doesn't feel like work.

Final Thoughts

To anyone who has recently graduated and is feeling the same pressures I did to figure out what life after college looks like I would recommend staying flexible, to continue learning, and to not be afraid to put yourself out there. I know my situation was a little different but I wouldn't be where I am today without the risks I took.