My pink canvas 2020 planner sits on my desk. It has the phrase “A Year of Possibilities,” embossed, in pink foil lettering, across the front. As I flick through the elegant pages I see events and work plans gradually decline. At one point almost all of the pages are blank!
When the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve 2019 I’d dreamt of work experience, internships, networking events, a full social calendar. I’d certainly not factored in a global pandemic hindering the last semester of my Masters.
For a very long time I resented this beautiful planner. I thought to myself, “Why did I even buy this planner? My plans have been so terribly interrupted!”. I looked at the item, which encompassed such good intentions in January, with distain. It served as a reminder that 2020 was not necessarily going to be my ‘year of possibilities’.
We are now standing in October and the year is almost out. I don’t have a job lined up. I did a whole masters and I don’t have a job lined up… The urge to burn the planner is very real.
I think most of my fellow graduates can relate.
I think most people in the world can relate.
But here’s where it gets crazy…
Fellow students and 2020 Graduates, you DID have a year of possibilities. And all of those possibilities, in my humble opinion, centred around the three following themes:
- Human Connectedness
The antidote to the 2020 blues is undoubtedly gratitude. Life has put you on pause in some ways, I understand. However, I challenge you to think of three things right now that you have, that are yours, that add value to your life. Even if it is simply the chance to be present in this moment. That is yours!
One thing to be grateful for is our ability to connect. Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing. I am connecting with you right now. I am sharing my experience as a 2020 graduate. Who have you connected with, on a human level, this week? What have you added to someone’s day? Remember, you can ALWAYS add a smile, the smallest morsel of positivity and empathy, even to the day of a stranger. I guarantee by connecting with someone even in a small way you’ll feel a little less in the dark.
And finally, 2020 has taught me resilience. It has taught me that the next job application may be THE ONE. It has taught me that I am still here and the things I have learnt during my Masters at QUT have not magically disappeared. I am still a woman, with ample knowledge, and a fighting spirit that will take me somewhere, somehow, eventually. As 2020 graduates, I believe we are some of the most employable graduates that QUT will put into the world.
When my 8-person work integrated learning project could not be carried out in person, we were there, in the cloud, on WhatsApp, zooming across the distance, fighting to communicate ideas and promote connection, despite the challenges!
The graduates of 2020 will always be writing just one more job application. Looking into one more personal development opportunity. That just one more attitude speaks to our persistence and I encourage all of my fellow alumni to take pride in what they have accomplished. Step back and re-think 2020. I challenge you to visualise 2020 for what it really was… a year of possibilities.