The Coronavirus pandemic has caused challenges for everyone, particularly international students. As a student from China, I have found the last few months to be especially difficult, partly because my family in China were at the epicentre of the pandemic, and also because my own lifestyle has been greatly impacted.
Following the escalation of the global pandemic, the Australian Government and education institutions took various measures to flatten the curve and reduce the spread. Knowing the situation is starting to come under control in Australia as a result of social distancing is great news, but there are still some challenges that lie ahead, and it is still very important for international students to maintain a positive mindset and outlook to carry us through this uncertain period and the time that follows.
A way I find helps me to keep a positive mindset is to set life goals. Everyone is constantly adjusting their goals as life goes on, yet now is a time in which goals are becoming more and more important. We might not know when university life will go back to normal, when we can travel back home to see our loved ones, or whether there will be any changes to our visa requirements in the future. These uncertainties can cause anxiety, and we might constantly find ourselves looking for any source of information that may ease our concerns.
While seeking information is integral to human life and will always be of paramount importance to our studies, let’s look at the situation from a different angle. Maybe it is time that we gain some re-assurance from ourselves rather than from others. Our life goals should hold strong through the ongoing pandemic with the knowledge that our lives will eventually go back to normal. If we approach our goals from a retrospective point of view, we should then be able to dissect the components, and place them on a timeline which will eventually get us to that point. These then become your building blocks toward the goal that may not be quite achievable during the pandemic.
For example, if you aim to start a business, now may both be the best time to lay the foundation work for it. However, I encourage you to start thinking of other aspects that may assist in strengthening your knowledge of how to start one. This might be reading books on finance and marketing if you are not currently actively studying either of them. Figure out each and every piece of the puzzle during this time so that when the time comes to act on your goal, you have put every possible measure and plan in place to maximise your success.
Although it may seem to be a hard time with many obstacles in your way, it is important to hold true to your goals. This approach has worked for me over the past few weeks; by knowing where I want to end up and setting multiple short-term goals that I can achieve during this time, I am able to navigate through these obstacles. These are the things that then become our certainties during and post COVID-19.
By International Student Ambassador, Harry Li