In a new world where the phrase “unprecedented times” simply rolls off the tongue, we’ve been told to find a new normal. However, when no one can definitively determine where they will be or what they will be doing in the foreseeable future, it can be rather difficult to adjust. I’ve identified five helpful ways to turn those fears of the unknown into comforting plans.
Get More Involved in a Student Organization
While many student organizations on your campus will have ceased in-person activities, many are still actively planning for the fall semester. Focusing on my leadership positions at my school has helped me make certainty out of uncertainty by devoting my time to something that is independent of the virus. For you, that might mean joining a new organization, taking on a new leadership challenge, or helping an organization, in which you are already involved in, plan for the fall.
Many of us overachieving women have overpacked schedules and no time for ourselves. Before these lockdowns, I, myself, mistook my quick showers and morning smoothies for self-care. With extra time to do with as I please, I have explored my city. I can allow myself to take one or two hours a day to walk through a new area and uncover new places to study, eat with friends, play sports, observe nature and more. Scheduling time to take care of myself has heightened my spirits and allowed me to focus.
Stick to a Schedule
That calendar is looking awfully light, which may be stress-inducing for many. Fill it up with time for picking fall classes, researching recruiting opportunities, cleaning the kitchen, going on a run, even watching your favorite TV show. Emulating a time in which there was little to leave to the imagination has helped me make certainty out of uncertainty.
That Thing You Never Did
We all have that one thing that has been on our to-do lists for months and we push off to do later, now is the time! Whether you’re learning to cook a new dish, creating your personal website or anything in between, now is the time to get it done and get it done right. These list items can come in the form of personal growth or care for others, daily tasks or behemoth projects, organizational activities or creative ideas. I can focus on how this time will benefit me and others as opposed to its negative ramifications.
Giving your time to help others is a fantastic way to forget about your own circumstance while feeding your soul and giving back to the community. There are tons of subgroups of individuals affected by the closures in vastly different ways. One friend of mine has volunteered his time to help struggling college graduates in their quests to find a job. Another is lending a hand in a food donation drive, while another lobbied her company to send face masks to its employees. Helping others has been rewarding, a feeling that helps me make certainty out of uncertainty. I have even been able to find programming positions on projects that offer relief to those struggling from COVID-19.
If you are like me and thrive on certainty, you cringe at the thought of the unknown. While I cannot promise following this guide will give you complete stability in your life, I do know that these steps have helped me enormously. In addition, I have found ways to surround myself with friends without physically doing so. Doing some of the above-mentioned suggestions on the phone with a friend, while not the same as gathering together, helps give a sense of normalcy. Simply catching up with friends about how life is going is rather irregular as they are typically there to witness it. Cooking the same dish or playing the same (solo) sport can more closely emulate time you would usually spend together. So call a friend and start making certainty out of this unprecedented amount of uncertainty.
– Taylor Lansey, RTC Fellow ’18-’20