As the spring semester begins to wind down with just under 50 days left, the future can seem increasingly uncertain. Certainly, the added stressors of being a senior college student are at play here. However, this year, like last spring, I can’t help but notice the heightened unpredictability of what’s to come.
On the front page of the most recent issue, we report that Truman State University has begun planning COVID-19 precautions for next semester, but the timeline for when these official restrictions will be released is unknown. While the University doesn’t want to release the guidelines too soon as the future of the pandemic can change, it is important to keep students, faculty and staff aware of what to expect in order to start preparing — or at least have an idea — for what next semester will look like. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my four years here, it’s that Truman students like to plan. Without a clear picture of how the semester will unfold, it’s difficult to orchestrate which classes to take, how often you want to be on campus and how best to be successful — however that’s measured.
In a broader context, the pervading social and political uncertainty is also formidable. As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out, it’s becoming evident that many areas of society will begin to change again — allowing more in-person events and a reduced need for precautions. As we eagerly await the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal government, many areas are simply up in the air. Often when talking about the future in a political context, it’s easy to form an opinion that we are heading in either the right or wrong direction, but right now it just seems unclear. It’s difficult to feel a sense of comfort about the future when we really can’t anticipate how it will unfold.
However, uncertainty can also be exciting. As the number of vaccinated individuals increases, I’m more encouraged than I have been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is, of course, more work to be done, but we should lean into the uncertainty and focus on the possible positive outcomes. Just as easily as an imagined negative result can come about, so can a positive one. As the semester passes and you begin to plan for the near future, focus on the positive outcomes.