“What’s the worst that can happen now?” I thought to myself. Little did I know the worst was yet to happen. Living alone in the UK has always been an immense challenge for me, I knew it from the day I decided to travel abroad to study. Every few months, a couple of weeks’ trip to Pakistan used to make up for the time I missed my family and home during the term.
I last visited Pakistan in early February, with beautiful memories and a well relaxed holiday, I was finally ready for the next challenges in life. My exams were in a month’s time, and I knew that this was the time, and it won’t come again. Either I make through it or break through it. With all that going on in the present, I also had to think about my next steps, my future.
Being an international student, the job market has already been very competitive to get into, but I remained optimistic up to 19th March 2020. It was mid-day, I was in the office, I was working as a part-time lettings negotiator at a property consultancy firm. I was chatting with a client over the phone when my manager called all of us in the meeting room.
“WAIT WHAT?” Yes! This was exactly my first impression after walking out of the meeting room. “The country is going on a lockdown in the next couple of days so we will have to start working remotely.” What is even working REMOTELY; LOCKDOWN; PANDEMIC? Is this actually happening? There was a long moment of denial.
I heard people talking about coronavirus, but I didn’t take it too seriously until I heard the news of a lockdown coming our way.
To be honest, the news was a shock to me given I was in the middle of finding a graduate job. Hearing about job cuts, redundancy was just the nightmare I was not ready to see. It wasn’t it, I am a big fan of networking. What’s true about networking is that you have to build it up. Over time, I managed to make great connections, reaching a level where I could possibly get some fruits of my hard work but then the hiring halt come.
Initially, I could see all my hard work leading nowhere but to where I first started from, zero! This left me with great devastation but you always fall to rise up again, each time more strong. I have not yet secured a job, but I have decided to not give up and to keep working hard at it.
Times are hard but things are picking up, I mean, we are not always going to be in this situation. So, I take challenges as exciting opportunities, maybe before I had put my 100% and now I will put 120% to get to where I want to be. I believe whatever comes hard and with patience is always worth it. I just have to change my approach and be more smart with my job hunt.
I mean, there are millions of companies, and there are more than millions of jobs out there, it will take more than a few rejections as a halt to my future. Despite the pandemic, the companies are still operating, they still need employees. There is recession, the economies are in the downfall but the world and people like myself are unstoppable.
Keep the rejections coming, because there will be a ‘yes’ soon, despite the pandemic. For graduates in 2020, we just have to keep our morale high and believe in ourselves & what we have got to offer. If we do not value ourselves, we cannot be of value to others.
So, with all the time I had spare during the lockdown, I learned to be patient, I learned to be positive. No hard work is ever wasted because you always learn from everything you experience in life.