“Oh, you are a pandemic fresh graduate?”

“So, what are your advantages then?”

I guess we all can agree that the COVID-19 outbreak have impacted almost all sectors of our society. Higher education is no exception. The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have made students like me faced an increasingly uncertain environment, where financial and health shocks along with the transition to online learning may have affected our academic performance, educational plans, current labour market participation and expectations about future employment.

Another hurdle I encountered was the awareness. Today, graduating from a top university does not guarantee an easy win in the job market. Changes are norms at workplaces. As a result, globalization and development of technology demand employees to be highly-skilled. Graduates find it difficult to seek employment upon graduation as they are lack of employability skills. Back then, I had zero knowledge nor awareness on graduate employability and the opportunities offered by corporate entities in making sure I can chase my dream goals.

As these two situations had overwhelmed me, I was not sitting still. Preparation can do wonders for our job applications. I started to take part and being active in various extracurricular activities and events during my freshman year, from club and societies, volunteering, workshops, sports, internship, leadership bootcamp until video competition, you tell me.

As pandemic has turned most things online, we had no option but to turn to the Internet to get things done. Thus, I made the opportunity out of it by joining various online events, competitions and webinars either as the organizer or the participant itself. These are my most effective distance learning tools, that allows me to figure out more and more opportunities for my future development as well as critically grows me.

In finding the avenue that works best for me, I had to determine the nature of work I am interested in. So, I had to learn things the hard way. In total, I went to 4 companies in 2 years span for my WBL internship in making sure I can seize the opportunity to brush up on these experiences. That helps me to decide on which career path I really should look on soon after I graduated.

The investment was made, what happened next was amazing! My achievements were recognized by my university and even the recruiters. This helps me to grasp any opportunities easily as I had established my online presence and broaden my network from the activities I had participated in. In fact, I always become a reference to my coursemates and juniors in sharing about my study journey. I shared these my very own transformation story on my LinkedIn in a weekly basis.

To summarize, what we should focus on is to start planning early, put some goals in each month and always open for new challenging opportunities. With proper planning and motivation, we are sure to catch our dream and hitting our target. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. And this is my transformation story!