We know that this is a very difficult and uncertain time.

Everyone is experiencing some effect of COVID-19 on school, work, and life.

So, how do we take this in stride, be optimistic and productive in this time and space?

It is important to do what the world is telling us to do, slow down, take stock, and rest. We need to acknowledge and maybe even grieve the loss of our plans, so that when we’re ready, we can redirect our energy  into the activities that are not canceled.

Inspired by this article from Forbes, “What To Do If The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cancels Your Summer Internship?” we wanted to share some of our thoughts with you on how to navigate a change in summer plans. 

Step 1: Take Inventory –

  • What hasn’t been canceled?
  • What projects are your working on?
  • What is something that you wanted to start but didn’t have the time for?
  • Any good books waiting to be read?
  • Have you been waiting to get involved with your local community or do some volunteer work?

Make a list of the things that you can continue. Take heart in that! 

What can you update or review? Take a look at your application materials: 

  • Create a polished and tailored resume and cover letter for each job or internship
  • Complete your LionSHARE profile is complete and make sure the information on it is accurate
  • Google your name to ensure that images, information, and social media profiles are professional and appropriate
  • Join LinkedIn or update your profile to connect with alumni and other contacts. Check out Columbia’s alumni pages
  • If you are not receiving any responses, meet with a career counselor to assess and refine your approach

Then, when the world is more like what we were used to, you can apply with your strongest materials.  

Step 2: Connect –

We are all craving human connection in these moments of #stayhome and #selfquarantine. It is a great time to connect with your close networks and maybe also the larger community. Using tools like Linkedin or the Odyssey Mentoring Program (for Columbia College students), can be a great way to engage with others. Gather information to build a network of digital mentors.

Diana Rau writes in her article, “Redefining Mentoring for the Digital Age,” that you can be mentored by anyone and you can be mentored by many people. How can you apply that to your networks and career goals?

Step 3: Optimize 

You may not be able to engage face-to face, but you can update and optimize your digital presence.

One of the things that you can think about the power of your personal brand. Whether it’s intentionally curated or artlessly authentic, we all have a personal brand that dictates who others think about and respond to us.

It’s important to check in routinely to see how your brand could be helping or hurting your career plan. Learn some personal branding rules and best practices and think about the ways that you are using your social media to enhance your personal brand. As you get started, here are four steps you can take to create your online brand

Most Importantly, remember to take care of yourself

Take your time. Give yourself space. Lean on your support systems.

Your resilience is shining at this moment.

And, when you’re ready, start thinking about what you are going to do as your plans are canceled.