“I am afraid of the change.” I wrote in my journal only a few days ago. “I wish there was an alternative reality in which I didn’t feel the need to run or worry about the future.”

It is ironic, because only a couple of years ago, I yearned for change. I wanted a new beginning in a different country. I dreamt of new possibilities to shape my future. I longed to meet new people. Only a year ago, in fact, I remember how much I was afraid of stagnation. Being satisfied, fulfilled with one’s life seemed impossible. How could someone be content with everything they had? How come they did not try to achieve more? 

Now it feels like the excitement for new beginnings has expired as fear has started to dominate. The fear of uncertainty. The fear of failure. The fear of disappointment.

Perhaps the double lines on my rapid test, indicating a positive result, exacerbate all of these feelings. Time feels frozen as I watch people walking on Broadway from my window. In the meantime, pending assignments pile up; my inbox overflows with flagged emails, reminding me of the reality that I will soon return. Hope to return.

But this disorienting sense of unease with change is not just a product of these five days spent in isolation. The pandemic in general certainly has a big impact on it as circumstances seem to be constantly changing depending on public health guidelines. The abrupt ending of last semester is one such fresh memory. After tasting a little bit of normalcy, I hugged all my friends so tightly last December, almost sure that I wouldn’t see them again for months. No wonder I add “hopefully” to everything I say now.

It is not only the pandemic though. Time flows differently on this campus regardless of COVID-19. People start or break relationships only on a weekend. Majors change after attending only one “life-changing” class. Only one opportunity email turns friends into rivals. In this environment, it is natural to feel unsatisfied. It is natural to desire change. It is natural to feel as if we are running out of time. 

It feels wrong to write “we are running out of time” when most of us are not even at legal drinking age. This feeling did not exist when we were only sixteen. But that’s the point. When life consists of home, school and friend hangouts, it is easy to think that we have it all figured out. In fact, that sense of security in my standing was the reason why I craved change so much. But as the transitions from all those steady states exponentially proliferate, there is not much room left for such a sense of security. Is the goal to live in those constantly evolving transitions or to reach a certain destination? I don’t know. Perhaps that is the paradox. Perhaps that is the unanswerable question. 

There is no right or wrong to feeling this way; no actionable item or solution. Contrary to my other articles, this is not a critique of the University’s policies or world politics. It is merely an acknowledgement, merely a validation for how some of us might be feeling recently. I don’t know if I will ever stop feeling as if I am running out of time. I don’t know if I will ever have a healthy relationship with change itself. But perhaps that’s the excitement, the beauty of it. Perhaps that’s why I yearn to return to my reality. Perhaps that’s why I would rather run out of time than to remain frozen in it.

SUDE YENILMEZ is a sophomore in Berkeley College. Her column, ‘Piecing Together,’ runs every other Thursday. Contact her at sude.yenilmez@yale.edu.