Today, we’ve asked our Career Consultant Alex Proctor to share his thoughts about the lockdown and offer some advice on how you can make the most of the lockdown to think about your future plans…
Believe it or not this photo was taken nearly one year ago today, May 2019! Ten points for any guesses as to where this was taken? (It’s a tricky one!). I always value a day out or family visit to my ‘spiritual home’, the river was calm (clue there as its technically not a sea), the sun was shining and we were allowed to walk, chat and sit amongst others so freely. Never could anyone had anticipated what would have happened when predicting May 2020 or the months before that!
Having recently joined the University as a Career Consultant in January 2020 (I was a former student at the University), my family often asked me what would I need to prepare most for in 2020 and remembering Bradford as it was back then, that was an easy answer – the freezing, cold weather!
This photo was taken on the weekend after I had accepted the job offer at the University. Hopefully you will be familiar with this setting above, but I remember how cold it was and realised that my biggest challenge in 2020 would be coping with the cold weather Bradford often encountered – how wrong I was!
Instead, the challenge of Covid-19 has been adaptation and resilience. Having adapted well to working from home and thankfully now the weather is sunnier, working from home has been a great test of adapting to an ever-changing world of using technology. Our work in Careers and Employability has needed to adapt to online delivery, and so the chance to play a role in supporting staff to roll out our workshop programme through webinars has been extremely enjoyable. Believe it or not I am quite old-fashioned when it comes to social media and learning to take part in Instagram Live sessions, as well as using Instagram has been a great tool, allowing me to adapt my own approaches to reaching out to students…as well as playing around with GIFs!
So, my advice to our students and graduates is use this time now to adapt. Whether this be in your job search or in your hobbies/interests, daily lives, try and adapt to different methods or approaches, now is the time to try a different tact to approaching a new task or objective!
Throughout this there has been times when it has been tough, this photo captures pretty much what we have all been asked to do for much of the lockdown. But if anything, this period should provide all of us with the reflective mind-set that we can be resilient under these tough times. So once this has all eased and the job-market begins to gather pace, remember these times of showing resilience as competition will be high for graduate jobs and so resilience will be more important than ever when competing with other graduates in a crowded market. As such, making connections with employers through LinkedIn and engaging with businesses, as so many students did in the Virtual Career Fair last week, now is perhaps the golden chance to make the most of the lockdown to virtually begin developing those connections which may well prove fruitful in the long-run.
Importantly, remember to also use this time to take up a new interest. I have decided to take up darts. Just for fun you think? Partly, but also for a useful chance to improve my own precision, decision-making and resilience abilities of course!
So while it hasn’t been the start to 2020 I wouldn’t have envisaged, it certainly has allowed me to reflect upon the importance to all of us of the reminders of being adaptable, learning new skills and staying resilient.
This was the last photo I took before leaving the office to begin working from home. Out of the dark clouds are the blue skies ahead and soon, as the Queen said in her broadcast in April, we will meet again.