Preparing to graduate high school has found me entering a new world of university applications and trying to find a concrete plan for my future.
Similar to many students across the world, the finish line I have been running towards for the past twelve years of my life is now so close and, yet, I find myself afraid to see what lies behind the tape.
At some point between the rushed deadlines and high school movies, this idea that I had to know everything and have a set plan by the time I graduated fostered itself inside of me. As my classmates asked each other to proofread emails to admission centres, I felt left behind and terrified of how unfamiliar things suddenly were.
However, I know that the uncertainty that I face now is not a new feeling. In March of 2020, it was announced that schools in Jakarta would be closed for two weeks. Unfortunately, “two weeks” ultimately led to a year without setting foot on a school campus. Similar to many students around the world, my senior year was spent in front of a screen in the comfort of my own home. Though many of us were luckier than others, the pandemic saw the world stand still and uproot itself all at once, and for everyone, the feeling of familiarity was soon forgotten.
As well as trying to keep up with the changes in completing school work online, the already-daunting world of university applications and high school graduations started to change. Teachers are now scrambling to ensure students meet grade requirements as exams are getting cancelled around the world. Universities are adjusting deadlines and interview processes to accommodate health protocols. Suddenly, a system that I believed was new to me personally, had become new to everybody.
In the past year, we have seen the greatest minds around the world uneased and flustered with the changes the pandemic has wrought upon us. Politicians have been forced to make tough decisions, educators have had to adjust curricula, and doctors have done all they can to find answers and keep people safe. People have lost jobs, broken relationships, faced personal struggles, and have learned to exist with uncertainty.
“The pandemic has taught us that, no matter how comfortable or prepared we are with the world around us, things can change at any second. Still, we continue to adapt”
Many have fought tirelessly on the frontlines of the pandemic to provide safety and care to others. Others have learnt to work or learn from home; establishing routines of a “new normal”. Undoubtedly, there have been many mistakes along the way. Microphones accidentally left on in Zoom calls and TikTok cooking trends gone wrong. Nonetheless, people have continued to persevere and find solutions.
I now realise that graduating from high school and facing this new chapter in life is just another discomfort to overcome. The truth is, every day is uncertain. Life can bring about new challenges, questions to answer, and mistakes to make at any point, for anyone. Instead of living in fear, I am now trying to find comfort in uncertainty.
Becoming confident in our abilities to adapt and find solutions is what allows us to keep growing and learning as human beings. For a lot of students at the moment, interview screenings, final deadlines, and learning to be independent may be new but it will not be daunting forever. Once these challenges have been overcome, we will continue forward towards every uncertainty life has in store for us with the confidence that we can, indeed, adapt and grow.