Career over before it's started? Graduating at a Crossroads.
Hey all, have recently become enamoured with WSO from the tier list memes to the quality advice and thought it'd be as good a place as any to ask some advice for a pretty unique situation I've had that I really haven't been able to ask anyone else.
Came out of HS in '18, did pretty much perfect grade wise and to my potential, into an east coast Aus uni (top 3 in Aus) and an intensive 5 year finance degree - partied a bit too hard my first year and didn't really focus on careers/networking but kept my WAM decently high (95%+). Sadly, started to develop a few symptoms of an overall sickness that's plagued me for the next 3 years, through lockdown to the point where I've been physically sick most days since and an ensuing host of health problems that basically killed any other priorities for me bar get healthy. By the time I've started feeling way better since my final op in November, I've started to sift through a few of the consequences of this. My grades have declined (88% WAM) - the subjects I've prioritised I've done awesome in, but there's others I've barely passed or not done as well as I could've in because of prioritising those in my limited ability/time which worries me given the mark intensity of potential high achieving outlook jobs I envision I could potentially achieve. Perhaps even worse - the two summer gap in my resume without any volunteering/internships that isn't really cleanly explainable in any CV/interview, nor any uni volunteering due to the lack of being able to commit whilst being sick. I started my own lucrative school/uni tutoring business, and it's been great - really passionate about working with those students for the last few years (as well as the flexibility of being able to work when I was able) but am also worried about the lack of any other work experience at an actual job bar that. I got a few rejections last summer forI didn't really fully commit to the process of doing well at; knowing I'd have to turn it down anyway, yet somehow hoping I'd be healthy - however I'm convinced that I missed because my lack of everything on my resume anyway. Hadn't done any relevant training to be ready for a shock interview anyway, so it wasn't too painful.
So yeah, pretty much sitting here potentially graduating in around 6 months (if I can get enough credits with missed subjects), with absolutely no idea where to start fixing a few of these problems to get myself back on track. Seeing my peers having done so well over the summer whilst I was stuck recovering really hurt, but I haven't helped myself the last 3 or so by not focusing as much as I should've on getting into my career - but I've also got a real lack of ideas on where I should start. I haven't done any networking, haven't been on campus to any recruiting events so am really lacking in connections, what's the best way to get started on that front? I've loved some of the valuation projects when I was more well to get into those, so was thinking IB/PE. Open to moving countries and new opportunities - trust me, after being inside for ages, that's all you want - plus my new year's resolution to learn Arabic is going well, and I've studied heavily on the MENA region before so that'd be a cultural experience I'd love to pair with work at some point, even now. Bottom line is, I can be the wish everything had been different sad story excuse guy all I want (I really really am sick of doing it, so badly just want to be the normal guy for once) but I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to justify/rationalise this when there's a stack of full resumes vs my empty one for interviews, or candidates who are just as (if not more talented) than I look on paper with far less baggage. And I wouldn't be bitter either - it's a business decision, and if I was a hiring manager at these sort of places I don't know if I'd differentiate or care about whether gaps on resumes come from pure laziness or something like this. I'm probably being a bit hyperbolic in my title, but I've known for a while that if I'm in a great environment where I'm healthy/can focus, I have the acumen and ability to outshine/outwork my peers in the real high financial settings. I just hope there's a path towards that at some point in my future, and if anyone can give advice to whether/how I can try accomplish it in getting a grad role (dream!) or just where to start getting myself back on track/helping to rationalise some of these flaws to convince a few more people I might deserve a shot, I'd be grateful.