Planning in pencil, not pen

Reworking the future I’d mapped out

Adapting in the current pandemic.
Whether it’s your first or fourth year of undergrad, we all worry about the future from time to time—I know I certainly do. Even though most of my plans seemed pretty set at the beginning of 2020, I was still worried something catastrophic would happen. 
In the new year, I applied for spring graduation—June 11—and booked flights and hostels for a summer abroad before I started teacher’s college in the fall. I had it all mapped out: After teacher’s college, I would look for jobs to teach abroad, reuniting with my friends who I met while travelling, and after some time, I would come back to Canada to settle down and lay down my roots for the rest of my life. That’s how I always imagined it. 
A week after the lockdown was implemented due to COVID-19, I was sitting in my kitchen trying to complete the final classes of my undergrad when I thought, “I really can’t do this.” 
I was scared to graduate in the middle of a pandemic. All my summer plans had been put on hold and I had nothing to look forward to. 
I had always toyed with the idea of a gap year, but I knew my parents would never approve. They were always the ones to push me to finish school in good time so I could get a job and start my life. 
But with everything else going on in the world, I considered: what’s the rush? The pandemic isn’t going away any time soon, and since I couldn’t have the summer to travel and take some time for myself, I might as well take some time off. When I enter the workforce, finding a teaching job will be hard enough already; I don’t think I’ll have a lot of success launching a career in the middle of pandemic. 
Although it wasn’t easy, I decided the best course of action would be to enroll in school part-time and work for most of the year, ride the CERB train until it crashed, and find a full-time job to save up for school next year. 
My path toward the future feels like it’s once again progressing according to plan—just delayed by a year. Of course, there are still some inevitable hiccups: I discovered that part-time school means paying off my student loans starting next month. But there are good parts too. I’ve also landed a job that I love for the time being, and I’m enjoying school more with a part-time schedule. 
Don’t get me wrong, the future is still daunting, and I have no idea whether this was the right decision for me, but this experience has given me the opportunity to take some time to explore my options a little. Maybe I shouldn’t be rushing into the future as eagerly as I did before. 
Although the pandemic has thrown a massive, year-and-a-half-long wrench into my plans, I’m glad I get to enjoy my final year of undergrad in Kingston with my best friends before we all part ways for good next year. 

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