It is evident that the pandemic has disrupted the lives of many all over the world. One can argue that one of the most effected groups would be students, particularly those in higher education. According to UNESCO, as of mid-April 2020, 1.5 billion children and youth were affected by school closures in 195 countries, from pre-primary to higher education. While this figure is dropping, 1.3 billion learners in 186 countries are still unable to attend school. Of the 195 countries that had closed schools in April, 128 have yet to announce plans for their reopening.
Professor Aleksander Aristovnik notes that apart from the devastating health consequences for those directly affected by the virus, the COVID-19 pandemic holds major implications for the way higher education students live and work, affecting their physical and mental well-being in profound ways. Those finishing college have had a particularly hard time, with their big graduation ceremonies and celebrations being replaced by short online videos and being unable to find a job in-line with their degrees and consequently having to move back home as a result.
The following video is from Insider and although it was published in March 2020, it still gives an insight to how the pandemic has affected college students. The video shows how the pandemic derailed the lives the of 15 college students in America. Many students all over the world faced these same challenges and difficult situations like online classes, travel bans and closure student accommodations.
Post-university life should be filled with excitement and exciting job offers, but for the 2020 cohort of graduates the reality is far more uncertain. A survey by Prospects on the effects of COVID-19 on graduate recruitment has revealed that out of the 1,202 final-year university students who responded:
- 26.1% lost their work placement/internship
- 29.2% lost their job
- 28.2% had their job offer deferred or cancelled.
Despite all the uncertainty, many college students and graduates are still optimistic for the future. An article from The Irish Times shows how students made the most of their situations and rose to the challenges of finding a job in midst of a pandemic or took the opportunity to take refuge in further study.
The following podcast goes into detail on the profound effects the pandemic has had on those finishing their third level education. Additionally, two individuals share their stories on how their graduation was affected by the virus and how their lives changed after finishing their degrees in the midst of a global pandemic.