Planning in pencil, not pen

Reworking the future I’d mapped out

Adapting in the current pandemic.
Photo: 
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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