Turby Talks: 5 Things the Pandemic Taught Me

By Kayla Turbyfill, CPDC Career Ambassador  

As we approach the anniversary of a year-long pandemic, I’ve been reflecting on what lessons I learned during this ever-challenging year. It felt like every week came with a new batch of trials, change, and forced adaptation in a world of COVID.

I, for one, grew in ways I never imagined I could. I came to understand myself, my career journey, and the young professional inside me on a whole new level.


These are 5 lessons I learned this year:

1- Boundaries are key

I learned setting healthy boundaries is a crucial form of self-care that is not always easy. I still have to work at it, but now I am trying to set boundaries about how I spend my time and what commitments are achievable for me. I prioritize people and activities that fill my cup.

2- It’s okay to take a step (or four) back

The stress of the pandemic took a toll on our mental health and ability to accomplish our goals. Taking a beat and some distance to evaluate what I can and cannot handle is a big part of finding balance in school, in work, and in my personal life.

3- Asking for support is a strength

I had to learn it was okay to ask for support when I needed it, and I learned how to ask for it. You can get support from your family, friends, coworkers, supervisor, faculty, advisors, and career coaches. They are your support system in times of crisis.

4- Celebrate the little things

Day to day, everything seemed the same for me during this pandemic, so I learned to celebrate the little victories I rarely enjoyed before. Sending an email, letting someone know where I was (emotionally or otherwise), reaching out to a friend, making coffee – all became celebratory moments for me.

5- We are always learning new skills

The pandemic put me in positions where I had to develop skills I rarely used before, such as adaptability. I learned to make the best of the challenges presented and found new ways to connect and collaborate with people.

People say hindsight is in 20/20 vision (pun-intended), and that is true of the last year. It gave me greater perspective on my career path as I evaluated my coping strategies and worked through what was and wasn’t working for me. It gave me a new trajectory, kickstarting Turby Talks and teaching me how to share my voice.

Through it all, I learned more about myself getting closer to the person I want to be. I learned to be a friend, a professional, a student amidst so many new trials, and I believe I am better for it.

What did you learn this year?