With final exams upon us, I wanted to take some time to reflect on this ~unprecedented~ semester. This semester taught me a lot about myself, and I wanted to share what I learned with all of you. I hope that my experiences help you all as we head into the next semester. So what did I learn? I’m glad you asked!
1) It’s okay to not have a 5-year-plan
Prior to the pandemic, I was the type of person who always had to have my next move planned. I had a pretty clear plan for what I wanted my next couple of semesters at BU to look like — I’d stay in Boston and be a FYSOP coordinator over the summer, then stay in Boston in the fall, and then go abroad to London for the spring semester.
When COVID hit, those plans quickly went out the window. The FYSOP program went remote, and I was no longer able to stay in Boston for the summer. Then, the abroad program was suspended for the spring semester. My plan A quickly became a plan B, and then a plan C, and so on (I think I might be at plan G by now).
In the past, not having a plan would have terrified me. But this semester taught me that it’s okay not to know what the future holds, and that freeing yourself from your plan A can actually open up a lot of new opportunities that you didn’t even know existed.
2) Get comfortable with having to adapt
The pandemic was definitely a crash course in adapting to new circumstances. Being a Journalism and Film & Television double major, most of my classes were hands-on and production-based, or they required me to go out into the community to report.
I was worried that these classes would not be able to function with the pandemic going on, but what I soon learned was that there was so much you could still do during the pandemic as long as you got comfortable with adapting to the circumstances.
I was able to go out and report, work on productions and shoots, and still do what I would’ve done during a traditional semester, it just required wearing masks, staying socially distant, and using hand sanitizer before and after using equipment.
3) You have to learn to learn from a distance
This semester also taught me how to learn virtually. I realized that learning online can be difficult and distracting, and it required some extra effort on my part to get what I wanted out of my classes. I had to relearn how to take notes, rid myself of distractions, (I would lock my phone in my closet) and take advantage of virtual office hours. Figuring out your habits while learning virtually can help a lot as we head into the next semester!
4) Everything starts with self-care
This semester also taught me a lot about self-care. I definitely found myself overwhelmed by the state of the world. When life feels like you’re living in a history book, it can be difficult to focus on your own needs. I found it helpful to take time to disconnect. No phones, no screens, and ABSOLUTELY no Zoom. This went a long way in helping me keep sane this semester, and also gave me more time to focus on my personal relationships with friends and family.
5) You can still get a lot done during a pandemic!
Despite the circumstances, I was still able to do some of the most rewarding work I’ve done so far at COM. I got to make a documentary about love and relationships during the pandemic. I wrote a feature-length screenplay. I reported for an entire semester on a community leader from Roxbury who’s been running her organization through the pandemic. I took some of my favorite classes at COM so far, and I never would have thought I’d be able to do as much as I did this semester!
Ultimately, this semester taught me to be grateful; to be grateful for my friends and family, for the opportunities available to me at BU and COM, and for the opportunity to learn in such an unprecedented time. This semester was difficult, but it was rewarding, and I’m excited to see what the future holds (whatever that future may look like).