Summer officially begins on June 21 but the summer spirit has already started with the advent of college and high school graduations on the calendar for family and friends of the Class of 2022. This class will mark their final two years of school with a host of social protests across the country, some even taking place on their campuses, and a COVID pandemic shutdown that kept them mostly alone and isolated with nothing much to focus on but their academics and their physical and mental health.
Today, the pandemic has weakened and school is over. Now what?
Much has been talked and written about the mental health impact of the past two years. Mass shootings and the uptick in gun violence compounded by a struggling economy and high consumer costs are increasing everyday stresses with which the public, in general, is contending.
But new graduates are hopeful while still feeling the afterglow from the pomp and circumstance of one of the most important days of their lives. Marching across the stage in person and receiving what many refer to as the ticket to the future – a degree or a diploma – is unforgettable. And, who knows? Maybe the speaker or the valedictorian delivered a memorable message that also inspired and motivated them to look positively towards their future.
But what’s next?
With a “hot” jobs market and job openings at a record high and unemployment experiencing a record low, the potential for this year’s graduates seems clear. What a time to be in the job market when the average salaries are increasing. According to a survey by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), college hiring continues to surge as employers report that they plan to hire almost one-third (31.6%) more new college graduates from the Class of 2022 than they hired from the Class of 2021. NACE also reported that employers expect to boost their intern hiring by 22.6% for the 2021-22 academic year.
So, in addition to congratulating the Class of 2022, we say, “Go for it.” You’ve made it through some tough times, now go out and become the change-makers you want to see and be.