Navigating lockdown

Posted on: 1 May 2020 by Arjun, final year Business Management with a Year in Industry student at the University of Liverpool in Hints, tips and advice

Student profile

With social distancing being enforced and with not knowing when it will likely end, it can be hard to remain positive. The pandemic has without a doubt hit students very hard, this is my experience so far.

I started the academic year returning from an industrial placement. I really enjoyed the placement and returned for my final year of education working part-time with my placement company whilst studying. It was a great learning curve and really helped me to develop my time management by balancing university, working at the Career Studio, and working with my placement company.

With the outbreak of the virus, many industries were hit hard, including the engineering industry which happened to be the industry I operated in during my placement. The tough, but the understandable decision was made to place my contract on furlough to be able to cope with the reduced workload. Furlough is when an employee is placed on temporary leave due to the special needs of a company/employer. In this case, it was due to the pandemic as many sites were forced to shut down when social distancing was put into policy. It is important to note that if you are in this position, it's not necessarily mean a bad thing. Government incentives have been put in place to provide furloughed employees 80% of their wage which is applicable to everyone. Furlough does not mean your employment is terminated. It is important to speak to your employer about where you stand and if you will have a job after the lockdown is removed. Many companies want to retain their employees!

My placement company was an option when considering graduate employment and the virus had left me very much in the dark, not knowing when things will return to normal. I had also applied to a few other companies and was progressed through their application processes for further consideration. The pandemic had left all of these options on pause, with the companies halting their recruitment during COVID-19.

It is hard to stay positive when multiple options seemed to vanish in front of me within the blink of an eye. It is arguably the hardest time for graduates right now, but staying positive was the only way I found myself making progress. I contacted each company for an update on recruitment so I knew where I stood. With this, I knew how many possible assessment centers I would have and began to look for industries that were still functioning. I have been logging into the Virtual CareerConnect programme and attending employer events online to support me with my preparation.

My top tip

In the midst of all of this, I still had university work to complete. I personally found creating a daily timetable helped me to block out time to focus on my work as it was easy for me to get distracted whilst at home.

I also found, with the great weather we have experienced, that working outdoors boosted my productivity. Working in the garden and changing my environment was a refreshing way to begin my day and helped me to focus on getting my work done.

Keywords: hints and tips.