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2021-12-31 08:58:00

PERSPECTIVES FROM FRESH GRADUATES

Perspectives From Fresh Graduates: Retrospection And Resolutions

Perspectives From Fresh Graduates: Retrospection And Resolutions
Caption: Perspectives From Fresh Graduates: Retrospection And Resolutions

I graduated late last year in the throes of the pandemic. But it wasn’t until a year later that I attended my convocation ceremony in person. To say the least, it was a surreal feeling to have finally graduated. The past two years have been a rollercoaster ride of sorts. Like many of my peers, I have worried about securing a full-time job. I have seen seniors, who have previously gotten employed, getting retrenched, while some of my relatives have had their pay cut. I have also seen many of my peers crease their foreheads as they frantically edit and send out resumes. And most gruelling of all, I have seen my close ones grapple with the virus themselves.

A mentor of mine once told me: “It is human nature to want more.” And she is right. When the island city was in lockdown, we craved dining out, heading to the clubs, attending parties, and more. Life seemed to come to a standstill; we bounced through countless sessions of Zoom meetings and relished only in food delivery or mindless Netflix sessions. When restrictions eased, we don on our masks and ventured cautiously outdoors.



Two years later, considering how Vaccinated Travel Lanes between countries have been established and outdoor social interactions, albeit regulated ones, have mostly resumed, I reckon it is safe to say that we have all adapted well. I found employment eight months on, as do many of my peers. There are also more employment opportunities available now. As 2022 (“2020 too”?) beckons, it seems apt to be hopeful. As many around the world begin to chart their new year resolutions, some of us may adopt a “devil may cry” attitude to life, while others may still be cautious to news that come their way. It may be wise to remember that humble goals will do just fine. 

Nevertheless, there will come a day when we will all be wistful for these very mishappen and memorable years. And that’s a good perspective to have to look back.

Read on to hear what other fresh graduates have to share about resolutions for the new year. 

LYE YAN HERN, 25


How did it feel to finally graduate amid a pandemic?

Graduating during the pandemic brought about a lot of stress and uncertainty. With the job market being unpredictable, it was difficult to secure a job. Nonetheless, it was a sense of achievement to have finally graduated too.

What has been most fulfilling?

The most fulfilling moment of graduating during the pandemic was being able to spend much needed time with my family and friends in the great outdoors. Due to social distancing measures, it was the prime time to visit spots like parks and hiking trails.

What is one lesson you have learned this year?

I learn that it is crucial to take care of your mental health. Recognise the need to take rests and take sufficient breaks for yourself.

What are your hopes for 2022?

To focus on physical and mental well-being. In order to remain happy in life, you will need to be mentally and physically active. Which is why mental and physical health are my priorities for 2022!

KOH MENG SHUEN, 26

How did it feel to finally graduate amid a pandemic?

I graduated in the summer of 2020 when the pandemic situation in Singapore was at its peak. I knew the economy would get hit badly, and so I was a little anxious. I remember that my main concern back then was to find literally ANY job to start paying my bills. There is nothing against being discerning about your first job and/or starting salary. But back then I didn't feel like it was the right place or time to do that.

What has been most fulfilling?

Having had a chance to start off as a trainee for my current employer, rotating in different business functions within the company, and finally landing myself a permanent role in the company with a team I love working on a project that I genuinely enjoy.

What is one lesson you have learned this year?

You can plan all you want, but adaptability is king.

What are your hopes for 2022?

Get a promotion! And start being a better adult. I'm honestly still a kid sometimes; I'm tardy about bills and I know so little about adult stuff like insurance, income taxes, and which credit cards are the best for points. Adulting is tough. I'd like to get better at that.

ABIGAIL SIM E XUAN, 25

How did it feel to finally graduate amid a pandemic?

Anti-climactic. And yet equally relieved to have passed my final exams with my peers, given how hard we had worked for it.

What has been most fulfilling?

That I finally had the capability to help friends and family around me after accumulating knowledge and experience from medical school and work.

What is one lesson you have learned this year?

Realising that it’s okay to rely on others when the going gets tough.

What are your hopes for 2022?

To get fitter and healthier in 2022. And of course, for the pandemic to finally be over.

TAN ZHEN YUAN, 25

How did it feel to finally graduate amid a pandemic?

It feels good to finally be done with university. But Covid-19 has sapped a lot of the excitement. So, the experience really falls short of expectations, especially since almost everything is online, and it has been a little less convenient to find friends around in campus then.

What has been most fulfilling?

Going on night runs in school with that new pair of shoes and spending time with the people that make life worth it. 

What is one lesson you have learned this year?

Things happen. But it is important to get back on my two feet and learn from my mistakes.

What are your hopes for 2022?

Well, we have been living through unprecedented times but having life going back to how it once was — or as I call it precedented times — would be cool as well. Although more importantly, I would want to get employed soon.

By Sng Ler Jun
Images courtesy of interviewees. 
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