3 Meaningful Changes I Made During the Pandemic

Zi-Ting Huang
Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development

As the famous quote goes, “Everything happens for a reason. That reason causes change. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s hard. But in the end, it’s all for the best.” The pandemic has turned my life upside down in the past two years. It was not a fantastic experience but definitely unique. Honestly, the pandemic not only led me to new ways of living, working, and socializing but also provided me with an excellent opportunity for self-exploration and reflection. There were three meaningful changes I made from this crisis.

Be a person with backup plans always

Back then, I did not know that my college life would end up with no graduation ceremony at all but with sudden isolation instead. My life seemed to be on pause when everything else in the universe was still moving. I have long dreamed of being a flight attendant since I was 12. Traveling around the world while working and meeting new people is always my keen wish. Naively, I believed my flight attendant career path would progress as I had always expected until the pandemic made my life a mess. Without any backup plan, my future was full of darkness one moment in time. Lucky was I to be supported by my professor and family, who highly encouraged me to study for a master’s degree to enhance my competitiveness while exploring more possibilities! Thanks to the solid teaching of IHRD, I’ve been equipped with diverse knowledge of human resources. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing internships and found that integration of study and work helps me to associate theoretical concepts with the practical values more closely. I’m willing to take on challenges both from school and the workplace. Different tasks entail potential opportunities. The more skills I gain, the more career choices I can accumulate for the future. The pandemic has gradually shaped me into a person with backup plans, which allows me to be more resilient, confident, and adaptable!

Adapt to new ways of working

Studying as a graduate student and working as an HR intern in a current dynamic environment, I’ve realized that adaptability is a must-required competence. During the pandemic time, creativity at workplace was crucially indispensable for making online presentations and meetings more eye-catching and inspiring other than simply getting familiar with new video conferencing software. The most interesting virtual event I have ever co-held was The Year End Party whose main purpose was to promote team cohesion. Apart from online gift exchange by collecting everyone’s wishes in advance, an app called “Gather Town” also allowed me to build a virtual office for coworkers to show appreciation and recognition by leaving thank-you-notes to one another. To my great surprise, it did make the party a very impressive and one-of-a-kind experience.

Remote working had long existed before the pandemic first started, although the concept of it was not yet widely accepted. Through this tipping point, I was deeply convinced by my working partners’ enthusiastic response that the key to organizing attractive online events and bringing everyone together is truly a worthwhile learning topic, especially in multinational companies.

Learn to be alone but not lonely

Keeping distance from people has become a new normal in the past two years due to COVID-19. For quite a long time, fears of being lonely and minorities had somehow pushed me to disguise my true self with a gentle smile and act as a gregarious person when I needed to speak up. Owing to the pandemic strategies, I found myself sort of changing from an extroverted person to an introverted person. As I spent more time alone, I found myself more comfortable and confident instead of feeling lonely!

There were some tips that seemed helpful. First, avoid comparing. Due to peer pressure, it was hard not to compare myself with those who appeared to live colorful and successful lives. Thus, as long as I felt like drowning, taking a step back from social media by suspending my account for a while was a good way to go. Guess what? It turned out that I was literally safe and sound. No big deal. Second, create self-reward patterns. At the time when my reports at school or projects at work were done and dusted, I would give myself some credit. For example, a little treat or a small talk with friends/family could motivate me greatly enough to move on. I am the cheerleader of my own. It is how far I’ve come that counts rather than how far I have left to go. Finally, value quality time. Quarantine policy had clearly taught me the lesson of priorities in life. Therefore, I tried to spend time with people who have similar mindsets and goals as me. Now, I’m much more at ease expressing my opinions and feelings instead of constantly participating in social circles just to pander to others.

Moments of solitude have allowed me to learn more about myself and find my own voice. I may be alone sometimes, but never do I experience loneliness.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Believe it or not, I still think about pursuing my dream of being a flight attendant every now and then, but who knows? It was hard to say my career path would go smoothly as I had expected without the pandemic, but one thing is for sure. Life will find its way out. As for me, COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise. I pretty much enjoy the point of my life now! Being a person with backup plans always, adapting to new ways of working, and learning to be alone but not lonely are the most significant rewards I’ve received so far! Life is like riding a bicycle. No matter what happens, we must stay strong and keep the balance so that we can always move forward.