Reflections: Fairley Lloyd

As I finish my last semester as an undergraduate from UNCW, I find myself unsure of where I'll go from here. It’s hard for me to think about what I’ll do when I officially graduate. I find it hard enough to think about what I’ll be doing next month. Life is uncertain. In a way, life was always like this, but I never realized that until now. 

Prior to March of this year, I decided I wanted to work in any almost any capacity where I could use my creative writing degree and tell the stories I wanted to share with the world. I was going to get a job straight out of undergrad, then possibly go to graduate school to further my learning (and open more job doors). I was going to get my passport, traveling the world at some point when my friends. I wanted to continue navigating the dating scene. I had so many plans lined up leading to the end of my undergraduate career; it felt like I knew what my future would look like.

That all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Now I find myself uncertain of the days, wondering if it’s Friday then remembering that I have assignments so no, it’s not Friday yet. Most importantly, I’m uncertain of the future. The future was never certain—it wasn’t like I knew what was going to happen before the pandemic started—but now things seem even less certain than they were before. I’ve come to a new truth now: expectations aren’t always realistic.

At this point, all my expectations have pretty much vanished as I’m forced to reconcile with the reality of the world I’m currently living in. I now have to consider the fact that I won't walk for commencement in May like I initially thought; I may not be able to see my classmates, professors, or friends again for a long time; I may not have a job straight out of graduation because of hiring freezes and the exacerbated economic recession. For the first time in my life, I can truly say that I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future. 

This pandemic has taught me a great many things, but I think the most important thing it’s taught me is that life is never certain. All those times I complained about late classes, working on campus, going out to events I had to attend to because of a group I was in—those are all gone now, canceled indefinitely, if not definitely. Those moments that I thought I would forever have slipped from my fingers.

So now my plans for the future have changed as well. 

Whenever we come out this, able to make human contact again, I’m going to give my friends the biggest hugs I’ve ever given them. I’m going to say yes to every party invitation, even if it starts at 11 p.m. and would normally be my bedtime. I’m going to grab lunch with friends on the weekends, because I haven’t seen them in forever, and I have so much catching up to do. I’m going to travel the world and take a photo of every sight that interests me. I’m going to ask that one guy out that I didn’t because I was too scared, or I’ll let my friends match me with someone else and go on a date, no matter how good or bad it may turn out. I’m going to learn Spanish, how to knit, how to loc my own hair, the origin of my family’s life from Ancestry.com. 

When all this is over, I’m going to take in everything around me, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.