College, the Real World, and Quarantine
You might not realize it, but if you're reading this you probably already know me. My name is Lauren Serpico, and I connect with you twice a week via the Mindful Monday and Workout Wednesday emails. I am a psychology Ph.D candidate conducting research on the connection between mindfulness, personality, and social media use.
It is no secret that 2020 is an incredibly challenging year. One group I think often of is young adults in college: in an already transition-heavy phase of life, they're now managing quarantine.
Even if you're not in college, I hope some of my perspectives can be helpful, or at least help you think in new ways.
The Digital Age
When I started my doctorate program 4-5 years ago, I had many people scoff at me. "That's not a 'real,' school!" "How challenging can an online program REALLY be?"
But online school was perfect for me: I wanted to travel, move to San Diego, and learn. Why the heck wouldn't I pursue an online option?
Now, there's no option: many universities have switched to online-only options due to Quarantine. I believe we will look back and realize that 2020 was truly when we entered the "digital age" of humanity. While many people are already on board with remote education and jobs, everyone else is now in a position where they have to figure out how to make this work.
We don't have another option: we're all discovering ways to make this digital age work for us, whether it's career, schooling, business, etc.
The Ball is in Your Court
I want to recognize the reality that so many comforts and routines have been abruptly taken away, and this is especially true in the collegiate setting.
Collaborative settings are the university norm: writing sessions, study groups, group projects, etc. But now, college kids have to find new and creative ways to stay engaged with their studies, and set themselves up for success to actually learn in a way that works for them.
This is certainly a rude interruption of typical learning, but it also serves as an introduction into the world outside of school. It's always been a tough transition coming out of college: for the past 16 years students are told what to study, when to go to school, how to spend their day, and what their priorities are.
And then upon graduation the real world hits, and they have to figure it out for themselves.
In some ways, Quarantine offers college students an early glance of how things are going to be down the road. The real world IS coming: what happens after college?
Now more than ever, it's important to revisit this mindset: the ball is always in your court. Even without Quarantine, you would have to learn how to create your own opportunities; you would need to get comfortable playing off-script. Even though it may not feel like it: the ball is always in your court.
If you're in college right now, I encourage you to START, even if you feel "inexperienced." The world needs new ideas, it needs hard workers, and it needs creative minds. If you find a space in an industry where you can provide value: start working on your ideas! Put the work and effort into things that you know brings value and don't worry about any 'no's' you might get along the way. By honing your craft and ideas, you are creating opportunities for yourself like no one else can.
It's OK to Want Help
There are so many things out of our control right now. If we sit in that and let it overcome us, that's a recipe for feeling powerless. Once you shift perspective to things that are in your control, this not only helps you stay positive but it's a great boost for mental health. It helps you stay creative in ways that will shape your future.
If I can leave you with a parting message, it's that I am a huge fan of talking to someone to navigate difficult times. Even without Quarantine, college is a challenging transition phase. Add to it the pressures of creating your own opportunities, grinding to keep on top of your studies remotely, and facing down the unknowns of the future 'real world', and that's a lot to take on at once.
Remote therapy options were already on the rise before 2020: imagine never nervously sitting in a therapy waiting room again! Now more than ever, therapy is remotely accessible, which makes it easier to fit into your busy day of studies, job searches, creative side-hustles, and everything else on your plate.