On Leaning Into The Unknown

By: Shoshanah Marcus  |  September 23, 2021

By Shoshanah Marcus, Editor in Chief

The advancement of knowledge inherently comes with a more advanced ability to predict the future. The calculated movement of our fingers allows us to have access to weather forecasts, diagnoses based on inputted symptoms, and even what mood we may be in tomorrow based on our Zodiac signs. Humans are put at ease and gain a huge sense of satisfaction from having the ability to foretell what may come tomorrow. 

The world was shaken to its core beginning in the spring of 2020 when an unexplainable and unpredictable virus impacted the entire world. As of July 19, 2021, 1 in 10 people around the world have become infected with the COVID-19 virus. This number may be skewed due to lack of testing or poor documentation, but the following fact remains: the coronavirus has impacted the entire non-isolated global community to some extent. The initial lack of understanding of the COVID-19 virus and the ever-evolving nature of viruses has caused a huge increase in anxiety in the world.

The introduction of new strains, the constant updating of countries’ travel policies, and the sudden closing and reopening of schools, have left people unable to foretell their future plans with certainty. Weddings have been cancelled, celebrations of births have been missed, tourist-based and small businesses have closed, and people have been locked out of their own country due to travel restrictions. I have personally almost had my own wedding cancelled several times and have been a first-hand witness to the dismay faced by my father, a frontline health worker, when he discovered there is little to be done to actually treat this virus. COVID-19 has completely stripped the world of the predictability that humans are inclined to hold on to.

Determined to re-enter in-person college in New York this semester, I held my breath knowing that all my plans may come crashing down just as they did in the spring of 2020 when Yeshiva University closed. I will never forget the tension and haste to leave the campus that filled the Brookdale residence hall following YU’s decision to close its campus.

To my surprise, however, I found that New York hardly changed. Though I understand to some extent the trauma that the city, along with the world, has endured this past year, it seemed that New York was doing just fine. I noticed some new restaurants and small businesses, but the city was still bustling, people were still rushing to get to their desired locations, and the notorious rush hour traffic was still terrible. New Yorkers were resilient and determined to keep up their pace and move forward, despite the tragic, unforeseen events that have occurred due to the rampant COVID-19 virus and the personal, monetary, and psychological loss that they may have been subjected to.

Though not a native New Yorker, I’ve always felt a strong connection to the bustling nature of the city and have felt especially attached since attending Stern College for Women. As students, we are influenced by and absorb our surroundings and have been especially impacted by the global pandemic. Though college is typically a time for young people to plan for their futures, the virus has taken this security and time away from students. Despite this, I have found my peers to be impressively resilient. I am genuinely in awe of what my fellow students have been able to accomplish, especially in being able to complete such an emotionally and mentally difficult academic year. Some peers were even able to take advantage of amazing opportunities this past summer from working in Camp HASC to conducting research to working in a hotel to volunteering in Africa to obtaining a computer science mentorship to working with NCSY Hatzalah Rescue

Instead of running away from the unpredictable, society, and especially students, have leaned into the unknown and shown a tremendous amount of elasticity during these trying times. May the Jewish New Year bring a continued resilience that allows us to trust in something much greater than ourselves and something we may not be able to plan for.