Living through a pandemic is terrifying. It’s a time of great fear and uncertainty as we wait for researchers to end the reign of COVID-19. With all this waiting, it would be easy for me to lose myself in a pit of despair. But instead, I am choosing to make the most of this horrible situation. As the world was falling apart, I was applying to grad school.
I’ve always had the idea of going to graduate school in the back of my mind. However, it was never something that I thought I would actually get the chance to pursue. I work full time, and when I’m home, I’m busy taking care of my pets and spending time with my family. My life has been filled to the brim and I didn’t think I would ever have the time to actually go back to school. However, all of that changed with the arrival of the novel coronavirus. Without the pandemic, I never would have had the time to research graduate schools and see that it was actually a possibility for me.
Once I did some research, I found graduate programs designed for busy professionals. These would allow me to take courses online at my own pace. What’s more, it was something I could commit to continuing once the pandemic is over, and I had just enough time to apply to join the upcoming summer cohorts. I used the time I would normally spend commuting to and from work to fill out my application, and I was accepted to my dream grad school within a couple of weeks.
Now, I’m a month into my first grad school course, and I’m glad I chose to pursue it.
I’ve been a student for the majority of my life, so I feel safe in the world of academia. I’m enjoying the online format of the class, and I’m bonding with classmates from all over the country via Zoom. Having assignments to complete and modules to work on adds some routine to my currently unpredictable life and gives me tasks to complete each day to feel productive.
There’s a good chance that I will finish at least one course before the quarantine lifts. This means that I can return to my office and re-enter the world with some new skills. I’m adding valuable tools to my metaphorical toolbelt that I can use to enhance my performance at work.
As much as I’d love to hide under a pile of blankets on the couch until the world is safe again, I’m choosing to push myself instead. I’m actively using my time to be productive and to better myself. I’m confident that earning my master’s degree will help me advance my future career and bolster my credentials as a young professional.
This pandemic is a disaster and the loss of life is a huge tragedy. I know that if we could, none of us would choose to be in quarantine right now. But we can’t change what’s happening. We can only choose how we respond to these negative circumstances. Therefore, I’m choosing to use this time in quarantine to steer my life in a positive direction and set myself up for future success. If you are considering furthering your education, or even another form of self-improvement, there is no time like the present.