The class of 2020 is entering an uncertain job market, but an app could help.
Local students are coping, but Wisdo, a mental wellness app is connecting these grads to mentors who graduated in similar workforce circumstances in 2008
"Your life for four or five, six years, is just dedicated to this one thing [college] and it's like, 'Oh, well now, what do you do? What happens now?' " said Jacquelyn Fossati, a member of the class of 2020.
"What happens now?" is a question many new college grads Fossati, who earned her teaching degree from the College of Saint Rose on Saturday, are asking as they enter a workforce they weren't exactly planning on.
"In the beginning, I was very nervous, almost like this overwhelming feeling," Fossati said. "I was told when I get out in five years there's going to be this flooded market of all of these openings, and it's really going to be your pick."
While Fossati says there are still many teaching opportunities available, she's worried about whether she'll actually get to start in the fall.
A mental wellness app, Wisdo, wants to help new grads deal with that. Wisdo CEO Boaz Gaon says it’s important for students to have someone who understands.
"The fact you have someone who went through that and was able to come out on the other side and you're chatting with that person, and he's saying those words," Gaon said, "so people can write on the platform and click 'been there,' it's such an emotionally empowering moment."
The app has dozens of different groups people can join, but Gaon says they noticed a shift in people concerned about the job market, student debt and coronavirus anxiety around mid-March. When they looked at who was worried, it was mostly college students aged 18-25, so the app is allowing class of 2020 graduates in the U.S. and United Kingdom to join for six months for free, so they can find a mentor who knows what that's like.
"The biggest mistake I made was I isolated myself, I was embarrassed about it," said Michael Eldridge.
Eldridge is one of those mentors. He survived the financial crisis of 2008, after the bank that financed his production company making documentaries went under. He says it took some time to eventually get himself going, but he focused on doing just one thing each day, and adding until those individual things became a full day — for example, getting dressed, taking a shower, working out, sending a resume, or even just working on a resume.
"The best advice I can give to graduates is two points: First of all, acknowledge the trauma you've experienced," Eldridge said. "And the number one thing you can do is reach out to others ... that's one of the reasons that we're talking about Wisdo, this app is designed to pair you with a community who knows your experience."
While Gaon is excited to hopefully help these new graduates, he adds, "we're kind of saddened that these circumstances brought about this project, but at least we're able to be out there with something that really helps."
Gaon says they're also trying to do outreach to schools to let them know about this, but haven't gotten to everyone just yet.
He says if you're a school administrator interested in sharing this with your students and need more information, to reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.