Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Ping! The email from Chancellor Yang hits my inbox. It wasn’t unexpected, in fact, quite the opposite. I’d been waiting for days to hear the ping. And I guess the news —that the remaining 10 weeks of my senior year of college would be all online— also wasn’t unexpected, but it didn’t make it easier to swallow.
Only a week prior, a “conversation” with my mother about how irresponsible it was to go to Disneyland, turned into me sobbing over the phone about how I wasn’t ready —wasn’t ready to graduate college, leave my unparalleled college town, or enter the workforce, but primarily how I wasn’t ready to leave my adolescence behind.
Fear and change often go hand in hand. As humans, we are innately driven to reduce uncertainty, which is challenging during transition. In the midst of preparing for graduation and assuring myself that this new chapter in my life is full of exciting potential, a global pandemic wiped out any sense of certainty I had managed to gain. My mind was instantly inundated with questions: Will I be able to find a job? How long am I going to have to live with my parents? Will life ever return to normal?
The comforting aspect of fear is it’s an appraisal —the perception of a threat— that we have the power of shifting. In the face of change, we have the ability to shift our perception of a threat to one of boundless opportunity. Curiosity stifles fear. Replace worry with wonder: What new jobs and ways of working will come out of this? How can I use this time with my family to strengthen our relationships and learn from each other? Can I use this interruption of the mundane normalcy to construct a new, more meaningful reality?
Reframe your fear, get curious, and take the time to explore in the midst of change.
Ellis Hurtado is a contributor at MOCA+