The times are uncertain and the current pandemic, extremely ruthless. Very few companies (if any), will go unscathed, and unfortunately, it is the employees, both current and future that will face the brunt of it. We are already looking at mass scale layoffs and/or furloughs. With working remotely looking as a short-term workaround, what should be the expectations of students? Are there going to be any relevant jobs left in the market? How should students keep themselves motivated during this phase?
If these are the questions in your mind, rest assured, you are not the only one. There are millions of students and professionals facing the same conundrum. Let us try to provide you some tips from our experience, and leveraging what has been shared by other leaders in this space.
1. Be Patient and Positive
Sitting at home can take its toll. Human beings are meant to be social animals. You remove the social element from it, and it directly affects your psychology. While talking to my employees, the younger ones are having a far tougher time that the elder ones. Do not get into the state of “Why me” or “Why did this have to happen during your time” – you will not be getting any answers to these questions. There have been pandemics in the past and there will be pandemics in the future; remaining optimistic during such tough times will be the best real-life training you will ever get.
2. Get Engaged in your Community
No need to lock yourself and start living in isolation. If you are part of a community like a computer club, marketing club, or even a college band, continue playing your part. Communities thrive during such moments of crisis – personally, I have seen my mother’s yoga community, my TiE community thrive during this period. Not only will it help you keep yourself sane, but also help contribute and make you feel good.
3. Get Networking
Who said networking needs to be in person? You need to start building your professional network – NOW. Right from platforms like LinkedIn (which off late has been used very aggressively by younger professionals), to attending webinars and asking questions and interacting with others will help you in the long term. Trust me when I say it, networking will become extremely prominent and people will find interesting ways to do it. Just to give you an example, today only I was attending a webinar on “Legal Implications of COVID-19 For Startups and Businesses” conducted by our very own TIE Delhi chapter. To my surprise, the process and the tool ensured that not only is there a panel (with a discussion), but also a networking opportunity where there was a separate networking zone where one could have a one on one. Of course, business cards were not shared, but facetime is invaluable. A lot of these events might be paid ones, but you can always play your student card :).
4. Learn Programming
If you have hated programming, then learn it. If you are ok at it, then it’s time to push yourself and get better. If you are good at it, then hone yourself. When young students tell me that they do not want to pursue a career as a programmer because they hate programming, I tell them that there is no escaping this. Majority of the new careers (at least the high paying ones) demand that you have basic programming knowledge (basic programming knowledge means that you actually know how to code!). This is a very good opportunity to go through the topics you found challenging during your engineering – Data structures, algorithms, advanced databases, computer architecture.
5. Stop Wasting Time
Binge-watching the new series on Netflix? Sleeping all day and playing PubG all night with friends? Though I would not completely discourage you from having fun, there needs to be a line that should be drawn. This time is not going to come back. You need to get into the working routine and not mess up your body cycle. We understand that hostel life is all about this, but this is not your usual hostel life. This is your battle.
6. You have Enough Time now for your Dream Job
Want to work at Microsoft, Google, Facebook? Well, if you cannot use this time to prepare for these companies then you better keep dreaming. There is a concept of Deep Learning (not the one being sold as Machine Learning in the market), where you need to work hard, dedicated, and without any nonsense tasks (in this context, known as shallow learning). Use this time to focus and prepare for these interviews.
7. Accept that there will be a New Normal
Though remote working and online learning would not be normal in the long term, it will be the normal for you guys as you might be graduating in the next year or so. Please be realistic and accept this change. Even in terms of your job, do not expect a swanky office with a buzzing cafeteria. You might be working on a rotational basis with the majority of the time working from home.
8. Focus on Health and Discipline
The secret to a healthy mind is a healthy body. With gyms, health centers, swimming pools, and outdoor activities out of the picture, you have to set up some sort of routine to keep your body going. Yoga, meditation, running (inside or around the house while maintaining social distancing), weights might help. Do ensure that you are sweating it out on a daily basis. The hormones released to make one feel happy.
9. Help Others
This is probably the most important one – help others. This not only makes sense for you as a student but also as an individual. It is only in a moment of crisis, does one decide is he/she is pure dross or gold. Also, the relationships that you build during this period are going to go a long way.
10. Have Faith
Last, but not the least – Have Faith! Like all things in life, good and bad, this too shall pass.