Caiyun shares her experiences in dealing with uncertainty during COVID-19 and their different manners.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed our lifestyle in many ways. Students and teachers had to adjust to distant learning / teaching; People lost their jobs and had to apply for unemployment benefits; fresh graduates struggled to find a job; Professionals learned to work from home; social distancing, limited contact with the outside world, and the list goes on. Whether it was canceled concerts, trips, graduation ceremonies, internships, or job vacancies, the pandemic affected the plans we had already set in stone in one way or another.
Before the pandemic, I worked full-time at a nonprofit with elementary school students. The school closed so suddenly that I couldn’t even really say goodbye to my students and colleagues. We didn’t have the end of the year celebrations that we planned, and my students couldn’t perform the dances I taught them. Like many others, the coronavirus disrupted my everyday life and my original plans and I regretted it very much.
Since completing my undergraduate degree in 2019, I’ve planned to take a year off to gain more work experience before applying for postgraduate studies for admission in 2021. However, more than ever, I feel lost with the current situation and am not sure what the future will be like. I wonder if, given the circumstances in the academic field, I should still do postgraduate studies at the moment. Will everything be “normal” again next year? In view of the increasing competition, do I even have a chance in this application cycle, as many are trying to complete a postgraduate course due to the current job market? What if I don’t have enough experience on my resume? Should I wait another year before applying to see how the COVID-19 situation develops? All of these questions went through my head and I hated that I didn’t have the answers.
I tend to think a lot and add to the feeling of insecurity during quarantine. This constant worry put a strain on my sanity and worried me. I was becoming more and more detached from my friends and family because I wasn’t sure how to tell them about my problems. The pandemic made me realize that life can be very unpredictable and not always the way you imagined it would. It is important to accept these changes and learn about setbacks as you will grow from this experience. I used to wonder about “what if” scenarios, but I accepted that at some point everything would come together. I believe that many people also feel lost and insecure during these difficult times, so I would like to share some tips on how to cope with this feeling.
1) Set a goal
You may have had to change your plans due to COVID-19, but don’t let that stop you from chasing your dreams. Once you have a goal in mind, it encourages you to work towards it and gives direction. I realized that I no longer wanted to complete a postgraduate course, but that I feared rejection. After I made my final decision and set my goal to graduate, I was motivated to work on my applications. For example, if you are looking for a job, your goal may be to apply for a certain number of jobs per week. You never know what can happen if you don’t try. So don’t be afraid! A positive attitude is beneficial to your mental health.
2) Improve your skills
You may have lost a job or an internship opportunity and are not sure what to do in the future. It’s easy to get into a period of lack of motivation. Use this time to discover new hobbies or improve your existing skills to improve your resume. You may want to take free online courses on Coursera, learn a new language, or take part in virtual volunteer opportunities.
3) Practice self-care
Try to live in the moment and do things that make you happy instead of worrying about the future! Don’t feel compelled to be productive 24/7. I find it really helps to take some time off every now and then to relieve stress. Dancing helps me clear my mind and make my body less tense. Cooking can also be therapeutic. Other suggestions are watching Netflix, going for a walk, practicing yoga, etc.
Hi I’m Caiyun and I am a graduate who is passionate about mental health and destigmatizing mental health. I love to write and hope that my contributions can help other students!