Turby Talks: An Open Letter to Students

By Kayla Turbyfill, CPDC Career Ambassador  

Looking back at the last year, I’ve been thinking about the things I so sorely needed to hear to feel seen, heard, and celebrated as I trudged through the many challenges presented. I have mourned life pre-COVID, felt hopeless at times, adapted to more than I thought I could bear, achieved more than I dreamed I could under so such pressure, and made it out the other side changed. The collective trauma and triumphs experienced this year have been awesome to say the least, and I want to take a moment to celebrate with you in this final blog post of the 2020-2021 academic year and share some sentiments I believe we have been missing.

In our many roles we have navigated a year of uncertainty, curve balls, and new challenges seemingly every day. As students, our curriculum and schedules were flipped on their heads. Our study habits were disrupted, safety threatened, and motivation all but destroyed, but we persevered nonetheless. While talking to a professor, I learned there was a lot of discussion at the beginning of the pandemic about how the students would fare this year, but we outgrew and out-performed even their best expectations every day. We rose to every occasion, accomplishing more than many expected –even ourselves.

Throughout this year, we battled the concept of what “should be” again and again, especially when it came to expectations we set for ourselves, but we still made it. Those expectations bent and adapted just like we did to every gust of change. We did not become “worse” or “better” students, but became different, evolved, in many ways. As we created new routines, allowances for ourselves, and strengths in a world of disruption, we grew into someone new –someone who could take on the world, even when we may have doubted our own abilities. We became our own heroes and person to rely on. We became a powerful new version of ourselves.

So this is for you, the person you are now through it all. The you who stuck to your goals when it was hard. You, who weighed your options, priorities, commitments, and still found time to take care of yourself in whatever ways you could while achieving and growing all the while. This is for the students who sat through endless hours of Zoom lectures and still managed to participate and learn when screen-fatigue and burn out made you ache. The young professionals who are learning to present themselves and work remotely –doing school, life, and their jobs all in the same space. This is for you, while you learn to love and care for yourself during this “new normal.” And this is for those who need to hear, “You’ve got this. Look at all you’ve accomplished.”

You have done so much this year, despite everything. You have become a version of yourself to be proud of because of your new-found strengths, the way you manage to take care of yourself, and the way persevere every day. I hope you take time to celebrate yourself and all you have achieved. You deserve it.