In Uncertainty: One student battles the “new normal”

Maggie Petersen, Staff Writer

I have spent my whole life going through scenarios. As a kid, I figured out what I would do if I became a werewolf, if there was a tornado, if I got magical abilities, if there was a hurricane, if I could fly, if there was a robber, if I could talk to animals, if there was a flood, and if I was somehow Harry Potter’s long lost American hick sister. 

I used to plan out conversations in my head before I talked to practically anyone. I knew my career goals, my college of choice, and the eye color of my future husband before I finished pre-school. 

I wanted to know everything before it happened. I packed for two-day trips like I was heading out on a pilgrimage. One time, I was so convinced that a tornado was going to rip through Montana that I tried to sleep under a door frame.

But for the first time in a long, long time, I have no idea what the future looks like. I don’t know the next time I’ll walk through the doors of my local high school. I don’t know when or how I’ll be able to take the ACT. I don’t even know if I’ll make it into the dream college I’ve had my heart set on for so many years. Oddly enough, however, I feel OK.

The words “new normal” have been circulating the airwaves of late, and these times are indeed new. I constantly have at least seven tabs open, all of them labeled “Planbook.” That’s normal now. 

My sister, who was on a mission six months ago before hurriedly leaving for college, is home, and she helps me with my chemistry homework. That’s normal now. 

At some point everyday, my family gathers around the TV screen and watches a chart of increasing numbers, muttering words like “wow” and cursing politicians. That’s normal now.

The Coronavirus has forced me to do something I have never done before in my life: be comfortable in uncertainty. Not with uncertainty, just in.