Students, faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University have seen a return to some normalcy on campus. In addition to the mandatory masks and vaccines, the GVSU community has returned to in-person classes, sports and activities on campus.
The graduation ceremony is an important tradition for all students, and GVSU students are no exception. The in-person debut returns this semester. Students are permitted to bring up to four guests and must be masked in accordance with GVSU Alert Level Two guidelines. If there is no procession, the students will be able to cross the stage and receive their diplomas in person.
While there is much to celebrate for graduates, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted plans beyond graduation as the Lakers leave college.
Senior Lauren Morczek said the pandemic continues to impact her life as she leaves GVSU. Like many others, she was forced to change her plans after graduation due to the aftermath of the pandemic.
âGoing to college hasn’t been that easy, so when I decide to go back to school to get a professional degree, I wish the pandemic didn’t affect my education so much,â Mroczek said.
When COVID-19 closed schools and moved classes online, internships and volunteer opportunities that students rely on for resumes and graduation requirements were also affected. Due to nationwide closures and cancellations, students at all academic levels have lost vital experiences that are important rites of passage for settling into careers after graduation.
The GVSU Career Center has helped students explore career options and create their resumes despite the challenges, said career counselor Meghan Veltri. Although many students have not been able to do traditional internships, twinning, or volunteer hours, the Career Center has made efforts to prepare students for post-graduation life through other methods.
âI just told the students to try and do what they can despite this,â Veltri said. âFor example, if you can’t match, can you do informational interviews with people in the field? “
Counselors like Veltri are helping students create resume cover letters and other competent job application documents while they are staying as GVSU students despite the challenges of COVID-19. Through their services, students were directed to other means of gaining experiences that are important for future employers or graduate schools to see when considering applications.
The Career Center has also hosted numerous virtual events over the past year to help students explore employment and internship opportunities in the Grand Rapids area as well as potential higher education resources, Veltri said. .
The Career Center has also helped many students with their virtual interview skills, Veltri said. As a growing number of employers now use Zoom or similar video conferencing platforms in their repertoire, candidates need to acquire or relearn skills for virtual interviews.
Veltri said there are many resources with advice and information available to students through the GVSU Career Center. Although many perceive the current job market to be struggling after the peak of the pandemic, Veltri said there are plenty of opportunities for GVSU alumni to find employment.
âThere’s a lot of content right now,â Veltri said. âI would encourage (students) to stay in touch with our office, however, I know a lot of people think the job market isn’t good, but a lot of employers are looking for students and alumni right now. . “