Junior Jolt: Getting Comfortable with Change
One of the lessons COVID-19 has taught me is how to live and even plan, amidst uncertainty.
October 15, 2020
“We’ll have to wait and see” is not a phrase I typically enjoy saying. I feel most comfortable when things are planned out, from lunches with friends, to when I’m going to write my essay for class, to what time I’m going to the farmer’s market a week from now. Yes, I’m “that friend,” who wants to solidify everything at least a week in advance, and whose color coded calendar filled to the minute almost gives you a heart attack. As a natural planner, one thing the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching me is how to be comfortable with uncertainty.
I envisioned that my junior year would consist of taking more classes that count toward my major, getting involved with some new student orgs and getting to meet new friends through that and completing my HOD Capstone internship in London in the Spring. When I think about how things could have (or should have) been, I cringe a little. Everything seemed so much easier to guarantee just a few months ago.
The pandemic has thrown most of my planning out the window. I’ve never been a “go with the flow” sort of person, so being forced by so many external factors to simply see what happens next has been a new experience for me. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been nearly as uncomfortable as I expected. I think I’ve needed this nudge to be in the moment, spend more time outside and explore what else is out there because for once, I haven’t planned out my days in advance for the next few weeks.
Right now, I have so many plans in limbo. I’m still in the process of securing an internship for my Capstone internship, thinking about how best to spend my time this summer and also where I’m going to live during my internships. Technically, I could work from anywhere as long as I don’t have any crazy time differences, or am willing to live a flip-flopped life like many remote international students (kudos to you all!).
I’ve learned that with enormous uncertainty also comes seemingly endless opportunities to try something new, or mix things up. While I likely won’t be able to make it across the pond to London, I could pick another location that typically isn’t offered as an “abroad” option. I could choose to return home and enjoy being “in the nest” when I thought those days were long gone. Or, I could spend an extra semester on campus that I thought would have to be spent away.
While everyone’s opportunities during this time differs according to a variety of factors, among them physical and mental health and financial ability, I think this pandemic is offering us the chance to learn a lot of life lessons. It’s been teaching me that planning for the short-term without knowing what’s down the line can be fun and exciting. It’s taught me how differently we can all react to the same general situation we’re in, and how people cope differently. It’s taught me that I miss sharing experiences like a Broadway show or movie with a bunch of strangers. Although this time is challenging, stressful and strange to say the least, I know there’s a lot more the pandemic is going to teach me about myself, others and what my future holds before it’s over. I encourage you to keep an eye out for what it’s trying to teach you too.