Personal growth

by Chelsey Voegt

It’s been approximately 140 days since I began the most thought-provoking and demanding but overall, the most enriching season of my life. I really mean that.

The 15th of February 2021 brought with it excitement, lots of enthusiasm but also lots of nervousness. After having finished the entire undergraduate degree online, with minimal social interaction, we all of a sudden had to learn to adjust to this new normal where social distancing, wearing a mask and trying to not contract COVID were daily responsibilities. In-person activities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was scary at first but we survived. Let’s just say I didn’t think I would have made it this far.

The beginning of my honours year was challenging to say the least. I remember going home each day with this whirlwind of emotions that the day had stirred up in me. How was I going to remember all these concepts? How would I remember the 600 muscles in the body let alone their origin and attachment points as well as the actions they permitted? Was I good enough for this degree? How do I socialize but still stay safe during the pandemic? How much time do I have left to drop-out? These are just some of the thoughts that went through my mind during the first month of my honours season. Nevertheless, like with all things, it got easier. Or perhaps I just learnt to manage it before it could manage me.

These are some things I’ve learnt along the way:

  1. Perhaps a career in research would be an option someday.
  2. You are going to read about 8-10 articles a week so learn to love readying but also you don’t need to grasp each idea immediately. 
  3. Even after years of being highly organised and managing my time well, there were still moments when it felt as if things were falling apart. These moments are important because they remind us that we are human.
  4. Not to be afraid of participation marks. It is the best thing that has happened in this degree so far. It forces you to grapple with difficult things and confront those challenging questions. It teaches you to not only challenge your understanding and bias but also exposes you to others’ opinions.
  5. Reflection at the end of the day is super helpful as it allows you to see what you’ve accomplished for that day, even if it is not what you planned on doing.

So as we go through lockdown levels,  be kind to yourself and those around you. Check-in on your friends. Make time for exercise and most importantly organise zoom coffee chats because we are all cravings some social interaction right now. 

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