2020: The year of change

2020: The year of change

Final-year student Eva Maffey had it all planned out: finish degree and head off overseas—then COVID happened. In this myView blog post, Eva explains how she turned a negative into a positive and has tips for others out there facing similar circumstances.

Eva at the New Zealand Model United Nations event run by UN Youth, held at Victoria University of Wellington. Eva was the National Relations Officer for UN Youth.

An unexpected plot-twist

In January, I thought my last year at uni would be spent finishing my LLB/BA and then taking a well-earned break with a month overseas. Little did I know, 2020 had other ideas. While most students celebrate their last lecture with a class trip to the pub, my big send-off was pressing submit on my last online exam in my bedroom. The following Monday, I began full-time work.

Many of us had plans and dreams for this year. It was hard to accept that things had to change. But we have a remarkable ability to bounce back. I can say this with confidence because I’ve had to be resilient before. Living in Christchurch during the earthquakes was challenging and scary, but turned out to be good practice for a different type of lockdown.

The good news is that resilience builds and grows, and there are a few ways you can help nurture it for your future wellbeing.

Future-proofing yourself pays off

It helps to view yourself and your future as something of value and something worth protecting and improving. When I moved to Wellington in 2016, I immediately sought opportunities outside of my studies to challenge myself. I signed up to the leadership programmes (Wellington International Leadership Programme and Wellington Plus Programme) during Clubs Week, hunted around for internships, and began part-time work (which led to my now full-time job).

While I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, when COVID-19 appeared, I was able to be resilient because I knew I had given myself the best chances possible through my connections and proven track record of hard work. 

Eva and another executive member of the Victoria Development Society (VDS) at a bake sale for Fairtrade products. Eva was the Secretary for VDS.

Working from home is good training

During lockdown, I panicked that my career was going to be impacted because I couldn’t network or gain experiences outside of my four walls. However, studying during lockdown taught me discipline, to structure a workday, and meet my goals and assessments. I also learnt to communicate solely through email or Zoom—skills which are now in high demand!

Adaptability is your friend

Unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t the last challenge we will face as a generation. That’s why adaptability is your friend. Our uncertain future isn’t so uncertain if we have confidence in our abilities to use what we learn and experience to tackle what comes our way.

Instead of my overseas stint, I enrolled in further study, which means I can enter 2021 even more qualified and ready for the workforce.

Eva at the National Day of Spain celebration hosted by the Spanish Embassy. Eva interned for the Spanish Embassy through the University.

Your future is something of value and is worth protecting and improving.

Futureproofing yourself through getting involved, learning to work from home, and having an adaptable mindset will help you meet your goals for a positive future.

While you can’t control a pandemic, 2021 can still be anything that you want it to be—and make it be. Own your future with courage and positivity.

Eva Maffey is graduating in December with a BA majoring in International Relations and minoring in Spanish, and an LLB.

Interested in sharing your experience? Read our submission guidelines and get in touch with your story ideas.