Although it’s easy to fall into negative thought processes surrounding an unknown year ahead, there are positive aspects that have been helpful for me to focus on. For one, I am not the only person feeling this way. It’s natural to fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to others, which can be misleading. I try to remind myself that everyone feels this way to some extent at some point in their life. Every student graduating this year is entering a new phase of their life, and whether they have it “figured out” or not, they are sure to be dealing with some of these same worries. As alone in this struggle as I may feel at times, we have more in common with the people around us than we think.
Additionally, accepting that a gap year may be challenging has been important for me. I’ve tried to let go of expectations and prepare to be out of my comfort zone. After roughly 16 years of structured school experiences, I expect I may feel unprepared or unfamiliar with my circumstances next year. At the same time, this could be a much needed period of relief compared to the chaos of busy semester after busy semester. It might be the hardest year yet, the best, or somewhere in between. Ultimately, amid challenges is often when we learn and grow the most.
Lastly, uncertainty presents unlimited opportunities. The field of psychology is so broad, and this is part of the reason that I chose it as my major in the first place. It suits me to study an area in which I am constantly learning of exciting programs and positions that I never knew existed. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on just how unpredictable circumstances can be- and reminds us that things can change when we least expect it. It helps me to think about how much my day to day life changes from one year to the next, and the growth that inevitably comes with this. We never know what great opportunities might be around the corner. I’ve enjoyed so many of my experiences at MSU, and can confidently say that I am just as excited as I am anxious about the upcoming year of my life.