#CougsHelpCougs: A call for stories of lost opportunities


This is a continuation of my previous post from Apr 16, 2020 – “COVID19 and the Lost Summer Internship… Now What?”

This week my daughter Sawyer was informed that the summer internship she secured with Sherwin Williams in January has been canceled. She is a sophomore at Western Washington University studying business and entrepreneurship. This news is disappointing but she is still early in her major. More chances will come her way in the future. She is resourceful and tenacious – I have no doubt she will emerge victorious regardless of this setback.

Last week I wrote about Sherwin Francies – a Murrow College junior who lost his summer internship in Seattle. Every day I hear of another, then another, and the news does not stop. At this point, I have no news to share of students who were able to hold on to their summer internships. All have been canceled – leaving every one of them feeling defeated and displaced – not knowing how to proceed. Where will they live? How will they make money? What does this mean for their career?

I recognize that these outcomes are now the norm. But as I review the list that Andrew Seaman from #GetHired shared on LinkedIn recently called “Here’s who’s hiring right now” – it gives me hope – especially for those students who live in larger markets where more opportunities may become available. I am also encouraged from my experience this morning of doing a search for “virtual internship” on LinkedIn and seeing that the list has grown exponentially since I last checked two weeks ago. The list has grown – but so has the competition and application pool for all of these jobs.

I know that as faculty, staff, and administrators we cannot solve this challenge for our students. But we can ADVOCATE for them. We can share our time and expertise to help them refine their application materials, set up their LinkedIn profiles, create or update their online portfolio. We can encourage them to use this time to seek micro-certifications, attend free training seminars, seek virtual mentorship opportunities, and find new ways to enhance their marketability.

Once the dust settles on spring semester, I plan to launch a new microblog series specifically targeting students as they navigate through this next stage of life. Whether or not #StayHomeStayHealthy orders continue, or the economy begins to open up again slowly – it will be a slow and tenuous process of recovery. They will need to be encouraged and supported every step of the way.

In the meantime, I would like to collect the stories of these students who have lost their jobs and internships this summer due to #COVID19. I want it to be a journal of sorts – for myself and for them. I want to give students a place to share the loss and find hope and strength through the missed experiences. I will provide support, give voice to their stories, and do all that I can to advocate for their futures. We are #OneWSU. We are forever #CougNation.

Share your story…

This post is part of Rebecca L. Cooney’s Online Teaching Tips series. Check out more tips in the “Online Teaching Tips” category.

Leave a Reply