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As we near the end of our DukeEngage experience, I’m left thinking about the future. How uncertain times are right now! It’s very unsettling to not know what the next week will look like, never mind the next semester. And it’s precisely in times like this that we must evaluate our past options and consider the future while reveling in today.

I expect the month between the end of DukeEngage and the start of the fall semester to be the hardest part of the summer. I will certainly miss the structure of our weekly community project meetings, group reflections, and blog posts. Without any specific project to work on, I’ll be on my own. I want to dedicate this brief month of time to improving myself and working on some personal goals of mine. I’ll finally be able to learn some more French, practice the piano piece I’ve been working on for months, and hopefully even learn to code.

This should lead me right into the fall semester, where I plan to juggle classes, homework, work-study, and my TA position. But this year, I want to add one more thing to my list: service. Last year, I had juggled several different options of clubs to join to get involved in community service, but felt overwhelmed by the schoolwork and my jobs so I never committed to any. This year will be different; I will commit to going out of my comfort zone to make other community members’ days a little brighter, in keeping with my DukeEngage project’s themes.

But in order to do all this, I will need one thing: consistency. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years in high school, it’s that I get lazy the minute I stop doing work. The trick is to keep up this momentum and positivity straight into the next semester. As long as I stay actively productive, I see myself achieving my personal and academic goals. I already know that all the campus-wide changes will throw me off; this lack of consistency and familiarity will inevitably hinder me, just like the transition from high school to college overwhelmed me first semester. However, as long as I keep my goals in mind and plan ahead for the future, I know I can keep the ball rolling. After all, an object in motion stays in motion!

So as I think about the future, I need to be careful to not overburden myself, keep the end in sight, and enjoy the present. And if something unexpected comes my way, I just need to remember the Spanish proverb “no hay mal que por bien no venga”— even from the worst things, good things always come.