It starts here

by Sithandiwe Dlamini

We have just begun the month of November and my mind cannot fathom how we have arrived here already. Seeing Black Friday adverts and Christmas decorations genuinely confused me, until I realised that we had two months left of this year. So before 2020 finally releases us from its clutches, I believe that another reflection is due. It has become customary for people to reflect during this pandemic. I, for one, think that this is a good thing. The importance of pausing for a moment, looking back at the route that you have taken in life and decided whether to continue the same way or to change direction. Either way, I have appreciated being forced to re-evaluate where my path is taking me.

This year has been one of discovering many things about myself, things that I have enjoyed doing and learning about. At the beginning of this year I had set for myself some academic goals and what I wished to achieve by the end of it. Looking back at my list of goals now, I realise that I may have narrowed my scope. Not in that I have missed the mark in terms of my end goal, but limiting myself in terms of what I can and am capable of doing. The forced digitisation of many interactions during the pandemic has made the world much smaller than before, which brings with it the opportunity for many interactions and connections that may have not been possible before. Not being able to go to a certain place physically is no longer a valid excuse for not chasing your dreams. And that is both exciting and scary. A big lesson for me this year is that my journey or career does not start after I graduate, but it starts now. Whatever I want to do, I can start doing now. Wherever I want to be, I can start steering myself towards that target now. Although this thought may seem small, it does remove one from a place of complacency and comfortability. Once you start realising that you can start making things happen now, you start fidgeting in that small space that you are in and become uncomfortable in that comfortability.

And hopefully we can end this year not with a feeling of regret or feeling as if this year has been stolen away from us, but with the feeling that despite the circumstances, we have made the most of it.

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