The new meaning of being a graduate during a pandemic

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

This story was produced as part of the WRBL 2020 Summer Intern program

(Photo by Jayda Hill)

Jayda Hill graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2020 with a B.A. in Advertising, a Sports Management Minor and New Media Certificate. Like many other graduates, she left school for spring break with post-graduation plans of a job or internship and returned to a drastically changed life and sense of “normality” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hill originally planned to be a Media Buying and Planning intern for a media agency called OMD in New York. She obtained this internship through the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program. MAIP is an internship placement program for minority students to place them in advertising and public relations agencies across the country.

“I was very sad honestly,” said Jayda Hill. “I had worked very hard for two years to get in the position that I was. I was planning to turn my internship into a full-time job once I started talking more to my recruiters.”

The disruption in her plans deeply affected Hill in many ways and caused her to worry about many things, especially the job market.

“It’s a very common fear [job loss] for people graduating right now,” said Hill. “Even more so because everybody is applying for the same roles. But I put my faith and trust in God that his plans will prevail at the end of the day.”

Hill decided to capitalize on the changes to many graduate schools’ admission processes such as waiving the requirement for the Graduate Record Examinations. She says getting her Master’s degree was always her goal, and many agencies are not hiring junior talent at this time. Hill will be a graduate student at Georgia State University pursuing a Master of Science in Marketing.

“I was looking to get a M.B.A. actually as my goal is for the C-Suite,” said Hill. “I had to take a major look at the industry and see where it is. I wanted to be in Georgia for one more year just to let the world calm down and find this new sense of normalcy.”

Hill is making plans to capitalize on this new, unexpected moment in her career in other ways as well. As of now, she is working on what she describes as “a little passion project” that she is excited about and hopes to come to fruition in August. She intends to explore freelance work at the current moment. Hill plans to move to New York or Chicago upon graduating with her Master’s in one year.

“I was pretty nervous because I didn’t want to feel like I am missing out on job opportunities,” said Hill. “In the advertising field, experience is valued way more than education. However, this program takes place at night, so I can work during the day if a junior position opens up in Atlanta. So. I am excited that I’ll have my Master’s by the age of 23.”

Hill says this pandemic has taught her many lessons that will last a lifetime. One of those lessons is cherishing life moments. “You never know what is going to happen the next day,” said Hill. “I took for granted my last day at UGA. If I knew that would have been my last day on campus, I would have appreciated it even more. Also, I am a perfectionist and just truly learning how to adapt when you are forced to adapt.”

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