Different circumstances allow for different and new experiences.
Within things that are immutable, there is a certain type of comfort that exists. Different circumstances can disrupt that comfort, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. This lack of comfortability could influence you to do something new and different. This pandemic caused extreme changes for us and likely influenced us to do things differently. During the lockdown, many people used the extra time they had to rekindle their passion for certain hobbies or discover an interest in a new hobby. Some created innovative ways to connect with their loved ones. Others used this time to pursue business ventures, product development, or even self-improvement. Personally, I took the time during the lockdown to learn how to play the acoustic guitar. I am still not very good at it, but these things would not have normally occurred had circumstances stayed the same.
Adaptability is one of the greatest strengths you can have.
From an evolutionary perspective, adaptability was a matter of life or death. If you could not alter your state of being to fit the new environment, you would die. Over the course of our lives, we have had numerous life-altering experiences that forced us to adapt. This particular experience of COVID-19 forced us to restructure our normal functioning to achieve the same goals. Attending classes through Zoom University, using computer-based software to simulate labs or practicum, and interacting with family, friends, and professionals virtually are all ways that we have adapted to this new normal. Although you may feel that you missed out on the in-person aspects of these events, you have gained a skill that is invaluable in your career and personal life.
Things happen when you least expect it.
When there is a cloud of darkness, it can be hard to see the possibility of anything different. However, times like this are when amazing things happen, right before your eyes. Constantly worrying about your future narrows the view that you have of yourself. You are painting a self-portrait without even realizing how you received certain colors on your palette. In plain terms, constantly looking so far into the future limits your ability to live in the present. Allowing yourself to engage in present things that make you happy and healthy can lead you exactly to where you need to be in the future. So, take a bit of time to assess what “current you” needs to be the best version of “future you”.
Personally, I was very stressed out about obtaining research experience, because I knew it would be vital for admissions into graduate school. Of course, the moment I obtained a research internship, the pandemic started, ruining my plans of traveling to Michigan State University for the internship–so I thought. The internship was converted to a virtual program that allowed me to still conduct research from home. That internship transformed into a research assistant position that I am still doing today. I had no idea that I would have an opportunity like this and I am forever grateful.
Ultimately, the anxiety we feel about our future is inevitable. Entering a new stage of life can make anyone a little nervous, especially when the world is completely different. However, you are not alone. You and 4 million other graduates have this unique experience of welcoming new events, adapting to change, and removing expectations. These experiences are considered strengths and can be very useful in your career and personal life. So, when the world feels like it’s moving in circles around you, try to think back to things that have remained the same. As Heraclitus stated, “the only constant in life is change”, so, remember that even these circumstances will be different in the future.