STUDENT AND THE CITY: The world stopped. Why do I feel like I am falling behind?

STUDENT+AND+THE+CITY%3A+The+world+stopped.+Why+do+I+feel+like+I+am+falling+behind%3F

Student and the City is a column dedicated to asking the big questions that all college-aged students are asking. It will explore different social concepts within the younger generations regarding relationships, lifestyle, social media and more. 


In college, you are thrown into a ring of students with the same end goals as you—and a variety of work ethics and talents. You race the competition to see who will succeed your role models after they step down from your dream jobs. Who is the fastest, the most talented? Who has the strongest network? Who will work the hardest? 

But what happens to the race when the globe stops spinning?

A year ago, everything came to a complete halt. While essential workers were pushed to their limits, all the others within the human population were torn from their daily lives and confined to their homes. College students were removed from school and stripped of all opportunities and resources that were previously swinging in their faces waiting to be seized. 

The question is: The world stopped– why do I feel like I am falling behind?

After the rug was pulled out from every foot on the planet, all I’ve seen while scrolling through social media were people in my generation thriving and being productive. I can’t help but to compare myself to others—it’s human, or at least that is what I tell myself. All I felt throughout the initial quarantine last March were waves of failure and disappointment atop the overwhelming lack of motivation in my bones. Although this feeling has started to subside, I only feel more and more pressure to grow in my chosen career as the days go on. 

I am embarrassed to admit that throughout the last year, I have become more prone to scroll through social media feeds as an escape from reality—a big mistake. Instagram and Tiktok especially have taken up too much of my time as a form of entertainment. Although the content I find can be entertaining, the majority causes self-dissatisfaction. While I am desperately attempting to find the energy to roll out of bed and something new to look forward to that day,  I watch happy go lucky rays of sunshine share their morning routines consisting of ten mile runs, finishing homework in their spotless work from home spaces and making the perfect cup of matcha all before 7 a.m.. 

Some students are constantly trying not to lose their minds over the emptiness of the passing hours and the lost time, at the same time others are perfecting their banana bread recipes, walking marathons in a day and mastering working from home on the beach. What is their secret to staying on track when the path seems to have disappeared for others?

Universities can provide students with virtual lectures and knowledge on their chosen focus. They cannot hand over hands-on experience in the field. Before graduation, we are told we should have a solid understanding of our chosen profession, and also need a strong resume to apply to graduate school or seek employment. However, during this time, the internship pool is shallow and companies have closed their doors. Where do we go from here?

In every career, some more than others, networking is crucial to climbing the ladder and securing the job you want. But how do you network when there are no people? Events are nonexistent, restaurants are limited and socializing is restricted to each individuals’ small bubble.  You can’t meet for a cup of coffee with a mentor or mingle with a group of future talents from home. Classes, club meetings and internships are now held virtually as students try to muster up the courage to uncomfortably turn on their camera and expose their unpleasant work-from-home look. Can you really connect in the same way?

I know all the students in my generation, around the world, have been thrown in the same boat. Except, it feels as though my boat is violently rocking through the storm of COVID-19 while others are sailing toward my goals. What is the secret to student success during a pandemic… and where do I find it?