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Planning in an era of uncertainty

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Author’s note: I would like to address the fact that my class organization problem is nothing compared to those whose lives have been dramatically affected by COVID-19.

Dear reader, I don’t like planning. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am a type B person. I find it incredibly hard to set long-term goals without edging on being too critical of myself. Yet, as we recently have been thrown into tumultuous times, I find myself having to do that.

You see, as a sophomore in the human biology core, I have found myself in the process of declaring and creating a formal course of study in a time when everything is uncertain. Choosing classes becomes a lot harder when you don’t know if they’ll be offered or when fall quarter itself is uncertain.

Two days before the start of this spring quarter, I found myself having to re-enroll in new courses after finding out that two of the classes I was looking forward to were canceled. With a transition to a virtual campus, my opportunity to explore research interests also disappeared, and I no longer felt confident in asking professors I liked to be my major advisors.

This post isn’t inspirational. Nor is it cautionary. I am sure many of my fellow peers find themselves with this problem of planning in an era of uncertainty. For seniors about to enter one of the worst job markets in recent history, I can’t offer much. For the rising frosh who are by no means going to have the typical frosh experience, I am sorry. The only place where I can find comfort in this time is knowing that many of us are feeling this way. Many of us are scared. Many of us are weary.

But we are in a pandemic. None of us know exactly what to do. In planning for the future, we can only try to do what we think might work out best and hope that it is enough. But we also have a duty to look after one another. If we are going to plan for a future for all of us, we’ll have to look after one another now. But in this moment, know that you are not alone, and from one person to another, I’m here for you.

Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Richard Coca '22 is Managing Editor of Satire for Volume 257. A dark horse and a workhorse, Richard strives towards bettering himself and having fun on the way. He understands that life is too precious to take seriously all the time. He currently plans to major in human biology and maybe minor in Twitter. Contact him at richcoca 'at' stanford.edu.