Transitions In Uncertain Times: A Reflection

Edited by: Vlada Taits

Being a fourth year student during a pandemic has had its unique challenges: being away from my family for a longer time than usual, making important decisions about my future career and schooling plans, and most importantly: needing to adapt quickly to the changes that the campus, the city, and the world are undergoing. There is a lot of uncertainty embedded in all of this and I wanted to share a bit about how I am learning to be comfortable with this feeling.

Transition is difficult regardless of the added complications of living in a world dealing with COVID. But, I have found this time to be extremely valuable for me. The past several months have encouraged me to deeply reflect on what I want to leave behind vs. what I want to carry forth and cultivate in the impending new phase of my life. Transition is merely another word for transformation; and I think that the latter word is a much more exciting way of looking at that strange time where you feel like you’re “in between” stages. After all, each experience we go through has a transformative effect on us and I've realized that without proper reflection, I would never truly appreciate this fact. Going through an entire summer term and beginning my final year as a residence don and a student during a time of global unrest has been hugely transformative in ways that I would not have realized if I didn’t bother to reflect on it. "Reflection" can mean many things for different people. A big way that I reflect is by actively documenting the passage of time through journaling and taking photos so that I can look back and realize that I got through a lot more than I thought was possible at the time. It’s a powerful way to combat the lack of faith that can creep up on me from time to time. 

Since it is my fourth year, my mind has naturally been preoccupied with what is coming next for me. Grad school, job applications, networking…these are the words that every university student has on their mind, regardless of what year they are in. On top of that, we've been seeing the effects that COVID has had on many jobs: people working from home more, schedules having to be more flexible, people encountering new challenges with work/life balance...etc. Many people's plans for the summer and even for this year have been turned on their heads and not a lot of things have turned out the way we thought they would. Being a young person getting ready to embark into the world beyond school is already daunting enough, and these new complications have added a level of unpredictability into the mix. I am someone who has always liked to have a plan, followed by multiple back up plans. This trait of mine has become less prominent and I actually think that is a good thing. Being in my final year as well as seeing the world go through this pandemic has highlighted for me the precarious nature of “plans.” We all know that things don’t work out the way we anticipate them to, but our identification and attachment with our plans can be so intense that when they don’t manifest, it can be crushing. Becoming friends with all of the question marks in your life is healthy; it teaches you to not be afraid of them. This is why I’ve been making a conscious effort every day to adapt a “go with the flow” attitude (something that doesn’t come naturally to me) and it’s helped. Essentially, I've accepted that I'm not ultimately in control. My decision to just have faith in something larger and let go has been the most important lesson I've learned so far in university. 

None of this means that I don't have plans or that I don't worry about anything (far from it), but it means that I am far more accepting of the fact that my life will change and evolve in ways beyond my current perception. I'm a tiny bit less afraid of the unknown. I hope that anyone reading this who is going through their own period of transition chooses to embrace their uncertainty and have faith in what lies ahead.