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How to Cope When You Don’t Know the Ending – Covid-19

Updated: Nov 21, 2023


Yes, I always read the last pages of a book first so that I know how it ends. I google TV and movie plots before I watch. I research possible treatments and outcomes before I get the test results. Why? Because I like to prepare myself for the possibility of the worst.

Covid-19 has thrown me for a loop because I can’t read ahead and figure out what happens in the end. We don’t know the duration, and we don’t know the ending. It’s hard for all of us, but if you are like me and always want to know how the story ends ahead of time, you are really out of luck. No amount of research offers an answer, and, as a result, I’m not thriving. I'm not sure how to cope. I’m giving myself a “C” on my response and mental outlook so far.

I ran cross country in high school and college. The coach at our high school, Coach Crawford, was a masterful coach whose training plans, though brutal, yielded results that made us champions. We trained hard, running 80+ miles a week of long distance runs and strenuous interval training. All his workouts sucked, but he had one half-hour-long drill for cross country runners that I especially hated. We’d start off in a deep, grassy valley where Coach would tell us “run until I blow the whistle.” And that’s what we did, with short rests in between, until it was over. Everyone had trouble with the uncertainty of when we could stop running, but the ambiguity of that kind of workout made me especially crazy. I would have rather run twice as much knowing the speed and distance ahead of time than to not know how much was left to run in that practice day.

I feel like Covid-19 is North Penn High cross country’s worst practice all over again.

I didn’t know how to be more accepting of “run until I blow the whistle,” and I don’t know how to make the Covid-19 era more bearable. My only solution is to just keep trying to press on as cheerfully and productively as possible. I’m letting myself sleep more since that seems healthy, and I’m pushing back from eating more, as good as that feels in the moment. I’m trying to be a bit more self-indulgent and a lot more self-complimentary. It works sometimes!

We’re always grading around here; it comes with the territory when you’re an adjunct professor. If I were my own student, I could see myself writing the kind of email I often get from my beloved students: Dear Professor Hauer, I’m a student in your class, and I’m writing to let you know how hard I am working for an A. I really need to get an A in this class; everything depends on it. Thank you. Sincerely, Prof. Hauer

I’m working so hard, trying to master the material, understand the prompts, follow the guidelines, and meet the deadlines of a capricious Covid-19 “class.” It is true that my grades on the previous quizzes and tests haven’t been that strong. But I still really need an A.

How to Cope

I’m not sure what Covid-19 will ultimately award in terms of assessment level. The most I can hope for is to manage myself and my own response as best I can. Luckily, Prof. Hauer has proved to be an easy grader.


Kathryn Hauer, a Certified Financial Planner ™, adjunct professor, and financial literacy educator has written numerous articles and several books. She works to help clients and readers understand and act on complex financial information to keep them and their money safe. She functions as a strong advocate and guiding light for her clients as they move through murky and unfamiliar financial and career worlds. Read more at her website.

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