The Covid-19 Diaries: “Sometimes you’re Thriving, and Sometimes you’re Surviving”

“Working on yourself is one of the best resources that you can have.” Noelle says.

During this time of COVID-19, graduates from various universities are struggling to find jobs after graduation. Finding a way to make connections has been one of the biggest struggles. Interviewing is basically through a screen; no physical interaction or having that one-on-one interaction with the person that’s interviewing you.

Many graduates struggle finding a job because of COVID-19 restrictions. Some companies decided not to hire because of a certain amount of people they can bring into that company. They also decided to make budget cuts and decided to release employees because of Covid-19.

Noelle Stovall is an alumna of Jacksonville State University. She graduated in 2012 and is now working for the university as an Associate’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions for Recruitment. Her job involves overseeing recruitment for marketing and events. She’s also involved on campus as a coordinator for the Marching Ballerinas.

Noelle focuses on recruiting students throughout the year and traveling around various high schools. Helping students get to know JSU and preparing them to enroll.

The biggest struggle for them was traveling. During the pandemic, the admissions team could not travel due to budget cuts and health concerns. “We weren’t able to travel, so I had my team members here on campus. Even though we couldn’t travel, we had more virtual events to have more one-on-one conversations,” Noelle says.

Jacksonville focuses on helping graduates find jobs through Career Services and provides them resources on-and-off campus when it comes to finding a job. “I think the biggest thing right now for JSU students, we’re still going to have hybrid career fairs for those students. Individually for those students who are getting ready to graduate, I think the best that you can do is make those connections,” Noelle says.

Recent graduates are all competing for these same jobs. Noelle explained that making connections is one of the most important things to do. It helps to set yourself apart and let the person see you, allowing them to envision seeing you as best person for that position.

“You have to have the drive and the personality to seek those jobs, that type of drive cannot be taught,” Noelle says.

Graduates have also suffered mental health challenges. Interview after interview, graduates struggle to find that balance when it comes to finding jobs. Noelle has described her mental health as “borderline anxiety.” But support from Noelle’s coworkers has really helped. “I work with great women who understands and try to be as flexible as possible. Everyone is carrying a lot in this year. One of my biggest jobs is caring for the people I supervise and manage. Protect their mental health and remind them to take off days.” Noelle says.

Noelle gives advice this advice for graduates who are struggling during the pandemic: “Sometimes we’re thriving and sometimes we’re surviving. Building those connections whether it’s family or employers. The more you have in your little web, the easier it is to get through these times right now.”

Noelle strives in chaos and taking things one step at a time. Making sure we ask ourselves: “What do we need to survive during this time?” Whether it’s checking on ourselves or finding connections through family and friends, her mission is not only helping upcoming students but graduates as well. Helping them navigate and find those connections before going out into the world.