Adapt, adapt, adapt!

by Marischka Lee Ford

“Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life.”- Benjamin Franklin. If 2020 taught me anything, it was that change is the only constant in life. Finishing a degree amid a pandemic taught me that you always need to flexible and that I can’t let the unexpected topple me over. After graduating at the end of 2020, I was excited for my honours year especially since most of the course would be offered in person.

As the year began, I knew I should expect many things to change. Not only was I changing universities, but I would also be moving from being an undergraduate student to entering the big world of postgraduate studies. The one thing I hadn’t factored in was the constant flux the pandemic would still cause almost a year later. Coming from a university that (in hindsight) had a relatively good admin system, I was expecting to have my schedule in hand and my routine planned out long before classes began. Oh boy was I naïve! I had to adjust my expectations and learn not to be disrupted by last minute schedule changes. ‘Adapt and overcome’ is one of the mantras that has gotten me this far! Once I figured this out, I established a rhythm and felt well adjusted to my new environment. This feeling waivered many times throughout this year as we have seen many devastating events such as the Cape Town fires occurring. Which disrupted not only my routine but impacted many lives besides my own.

Although this year started off really rocky, it has taught me so much. These are the four main lessons I’ve learnt so far:

  1. Focus on what you can control.
  2. Always have a back-up plan.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask if you need help or advice.
  4. You get answers quicker face-to-face or on video calls.

My supervisor always says that research never goes according to plan. That you can schedule everything to a T but there is always something that happens that you don’t expect. If that’s true, then I believe I have gotten a really good crash course on how to be tenacious and to do the best with the curve balls thrown my way. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to grow and develop into a well-rounded scientist. I am excited to see what else my honours year has to offer!

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