Written by Chloe, Never Too Late Team Member
Over the years, uncertainty is something I’ve grown accustomed to. When I entered care; transiency, uncertainty, and chaos vastly became my normal. The way I envisioned how my life would look during that period in time greatly deviated from the sobering reality I was facing.
Similar to when COVID-19 hit, there were many unknowns about what the future held, and things could change at any moment without notice. Though there are more constants in my life now than there were back then, the unknown is something I still grapple (and struggle) with.
Beginning my Master’s of Social Work during a pandemic will be no exception. I find it quite ironic how certain I am about my chosen career path, but how uncertain I am (at least in the present moment) of how that path will look.
When I was filling out my master’s applications back in December, I envisioned what the beginning of the school year might look like. That being said, having my lectures taught through a computer screen and meeting classmates over a Zoom call was nowhere near what I had in mind. I knew there would be some unknowns, but I figured it would be things like learning how to adjust to being a student again after working full time for three years… not having to turn my apartment into a classroom.
However, as I’ve learned, life is all about learning to adjust to your circumstances, even the ones you did not see coming.
I never thought I would be asking myself questions like “Will I still be receiving a quality education?”, “Will I actually get to meet my classmates in person?” “When will I be able to step foot onto campus?" Before the pandemic started, these were all things that were a given and would never warrant questioning, but now have become legitimate questions I along with every other student have, whose answers will likely remain unknown for quite some time.
This sort of reminds me of what it was like being in care. I remember I would ask questions like “what bed will I be sleeping in next month?”, “ what neighbourhood will I live in?”, what will be the names of the people who will take care of me?” These are not typical questions that are asked by those who do not grow up in care because most of the time it’s a given, but when you’re from care these are legitimate questions, whose answers are often unknown and can change in an instant.
It has always been my dream to pursue graduate school, so why don’t I feel more excited? I of course am looking forward to beginning this new chapter, but I am not experiencing the fluttering in my stomach I usually do before the commencement of a new school year.
Evidently, my program is not going to start the way I imagined it would, which brings disappointment, but I think the lack of excitement runs deeper than the disillusionment of things being different. It may have less to do with the increased number of unknowns, and more to do with the worsening intensity of the inevitable unknowns that would precede this transition even if COVID-19 was not a factor. This includes leaving my stable full-time corporate job, having to take out another student loan while I am paying off my first one, finding balance between a part-time job and a full-time course load...etc.
Facing these changes during a pandemic, only make things more challenging. Although I am always up for a challenge, it can sometimes get wearisome. As a matter of fact, that’s an understatement, it can get downright exhausting, especially when you come from care. Luckily, I have an army of people who lift me up when I’m too tired to stand and will continue to carry me through this next chapter of life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this pandemic it’s that the more uncertainty that comes my way, the more certain I become of who will remain by my side no matter the circumstances.
Although a lot of things remain unknown, there is one thing I know for sure. No matter if I am receiving my education virtually or in class, nothing will stop me from trying to be the best social worker I can be.
Never Too Late (NTL) is a program on the Adoption Council of Ontario. This article was originally published on the Never Too Late August 2020 Newsletter.