Forté Fellows

Women & COVID-19: Dear Class of 2020

April 17, 2020
Quarantine: 31st day and counting…

Dear Class of 2020,

We are graduating in a challenging time. In the past months, every day has been “another rough day.” But we know we are in this together.

As individuals, it is a sacred time for us to self-reflect, invest in ourselves and our relationships with others. My progress in French will hopefully be sellable and “profitable” when the market is up and running. My virtual connections with family, friends, and former colleagues around the world have warmed me up during this cold isolation.

Three days ago, on April 14, it was my birthday. It was very unusual but special. Although I couldn’t meet with friends, thanks to technology, I had a lovely virtual celebration with my classmates. On that same day, my former manager in Sweden sent me a voice message, wishing me a happy birthday and talked about the beautiful time we worked together. I’ll be looking forward to seeing him again, some time, somewhere…

This morning, I had a virtual catch-up with my career coach. Besides the usual career catching-up, we talked about Bailey her dog, and about making sourdough. She promised to give me some starter (yeast) when this is over and we’d meet at school. This is something very sweet to look forward to.

You know,  these virtual connections have given me real love.

As job applicants, it is an opportunity to repackage ourselves, evaluate our career choices, and the employer brands of companies we interact with their social responsibilities, their support for employees, their communications with applicants in recruitment uncertainties.

Over the past month, I have had approximately fifteen virtual ‘coffee chats’ with marketing professionals in Life Sciences, the industry I want to pursue after graduation. I am incredibly thankful for their time, career stories, and advice. And I know that everything would be moving forward slowly, that we are all in this together, and everyone is more compassionate and willing to give a hand. We just need to ask.

As graduating students, it is time for us to thank those who have been supporting us throughout this journey and be grateful to our schools for turning the impossible ugly thing to the possible next best thing. Thank you!

We never imagined our last month of student life would end like this, but we started this together, let’s bring it home together and celebrate it.

One day, when this is over, we’ll look back and tell our story: “Yes, that year 2020 when we graduated…”

Nadine Dinh is a 2020 Forté Fellow at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

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