My Self-Isolation Diaries: Week 5

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Quote the Raven: Sarah
Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies, minor in Disability Studies

Sarah

Periods of transition are familiar to all of us, and yet they always pose their challenges and create new anxieties. Now that the semester has come to a close, we are all transitioning in one way or another, and dealing with the fact that this semester’s end brings a transition unlike any we’ve experienced before. Unlike previous semesters, especially year-end ones, you may not be travelling back home or heading out for big summer plans. Finding summer work is providing a new challenge, a lot of your plans may have been cancelled. So, like all transitions, even though you may have been prepared for it, the actual process still throws a curve ball or ten.

That’s where I’m at. Even though, as I’ve mentioned previously, I took this semester off from studies, I’m still transitioning right along with all of you. I’ve been writing these posts as an employee of the Office of the Vice President (Students and Enrollment) on their communications team, but my semester-long contract is coming to an end. I’ll always be so grateful that we have ACT to Employ, which has allowed me to work a few amazing jobs now. If you’re a student with a disability trying to find employment, definitely look into the program. I’m also transitioning out of my position working with the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, another great resources for students with disabilities, with whom I’ve been working since June 2018.

This is a bittersweet time, as one chapter closes and another one opens. As with most transitions, there is always that level of uncertainty of not knowing what comes next, even if you do have plans. And transitioning in a period of time when everything is already so uncertain can be really tough. Make sure you’re looking after yourselves, going easy on yourself and those around you. That’s what I’m doing to make sure I get through this time, as well as continuing counselling and checking in with the people I care about. One step at a time – that’s all we can do.

I say bittersweet because I’m so incredibly excited about what’s coming next for me. I mentioned in a previous diary entry that I was awarded an internship I worked really hard applying for – I’ll be spending the summer working on the FASS Undergraduate Summer Research Internship, conducting research on a topic very close to my heart in hopes of shedding more light on the experiences of young women with invisible, rare disabilities, research that will lead to suggestions that will help improve our lives. I am so insanely grateful to have this opportunity, and I’ll be working hard all summer. So, I’m also insanely stressed! There’s the uncertainty of never having done something like this before, and not really knowing what the world will look like month-to-month right now. And even though the internship doesn’t start until May technically, I’ve had to start working on it already at the same time as finishing up my other two jobs, because I had to adjust my research plans to accommodate social distancing measures. I also had to order my research materials (academic books) ahead of time because shipping on non-essential products is so slowed down.

And I love my two jobs! I’m sad to be saying goodbye to working with the amazing OVPSE comms team and my colleagues at NEADS, though I hope to work with them both again in the future – I should be returning to the communications team once more in the fall, so that makes the goodbye a little easier. ‘Goodbye for now’ will always be so much easier than ‘goodbye – forever?’ I’m still going to miss these amazing teams.

Right now we all just need to remember that change isn’t always a scary beast, and it’s not something you will ever be able to avoid. So, despite all of the uncertainty surrounding transitions, embrace it! Change helps us grow and evolve and become new selves – the changes I’ve been through in the last three years have definitely changed who I am, and I like to joke that 2016 me wouldn’t recognize 2020 me. Change is a chance, it’s an opportunity to explore ourselves and the world and the relation between the two. It’s constantly inventing and reinventing ourselves and learning who we want to become.

And while this is goodbye for now from me to you, I have pre-written a number of posts that will be going up throughout the summer, so I hope that I can continue to at least provide a little support and help to some of you while we continue becoming our new selves.

Happy summer everyone, I hope you can embrace this transition as the opportunity it is.

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