Rechkemmer: A lesson on patience

Columnist Gracie Rechkemmer assesses the virtue of patience in the midst of 2020. 

Gracie Rechkemmer

The longer 2020 goes on, the more difficult it becomes to ascribe any positive trait to this year. A series of devastating events rocked our country and our world, and the misfortune shows no sign of stopping.

This year has been enough to discourage even the most positive-minded person. However, I consider myself an optimist and I believe there are worthwhile lessons to be learned from even the darkest of times (including right now). Living in 2020 has taught me a lesson that is deceptively simple, yet life-changing:

How to simply wait. 

As a person who struggles with anxiety and as a person who is always on the move, patience has never been my strong point. It has always been important to me to know what is going on and to feel like I have a semblance of control over my situation. I feel like my best self when I am actively and purposefully making progress in life — because of this, living in 2020 placed me way outside my comfort zone. I found myself in the position, like everyone else, of living in a state of uncertainty. My education, job and entire life were effectively placed on hold. I had little to no information about anything and no plan for what to do next.  

This year forced me to learn patience. 

While the transition did not happen immediately, I was eventually able to accept the reality of the situation and learn there can be beauty in waiting. In order to do this, I had to be willing to let go of my need for control and trust that things would work out — even if I didn’t know exactly what that would entail. By abdicating control, I freed myself from the burden of constantly worrying and allowed myself to enjoy life, as unconventional as it may be right now. 

Patience is freeing and more necessary now than ever. 

With the semester quickly approaching, this is especially relevant. Students are still waiting for concrete information about what their schedules, living situations and classroom settings will look like in the fall. It is difficult to wait for that information, especially when it is about something as important to us as our education. I have personally already changed my class schedule multiple times in anticipation of coronavirus-related changes. However, this is not necessarily the healthiest option.  

My advice is to stop refreshing your email every hour and to forgo a complete schedule rehaul before the new class lists are released. Recognize that although we are not in control of this situation, we are in control of our own reactions to it. We each have the ability to take a breath, let our worries go and do our best to enjoy the last weeks of summer. 

Most of all, we each have the ability, and perhaps the responsibility, to be patient. I promise it will improve your outlook on life.