I have transcended many an obstacle in life. And every one of them is a success that has come with at least one lesson of life. Of course, there are a few I’ve had to chalk up to experience. Life just never goes in the same direction every time. At times, it turns out well, and at times things go awry. But either way, at least a lesson is learnt. That’s one of my philosophies of life.

And it’s with this philosophy I’ve embraced the fresh challenges shot at me at the turn of the year when the covid pandemic broke out.

‘I just have to weather the storm’, I mused to myself.

This was coming at the heels of a series of rather unfriendly developments. As a teacher working for a private school, I was one of most hit. First, it was the lockdown which paralysed all business activities and social life. That was in March and it seemed to me then as if by April, or latest by May, we’d be back in the classroom. However, I was wrong, six months later (it’s now September) there is no end in sight.

Meanwhile, coping with the costs of running a family was becoming harder by the seconds and the severance of physical contacts with the outside world under the new normal’s social distancing policy was taking its own tolls too. Imaging staying home 24 – 7 for five months without with little to eat and nothing fall back on!

Well, having to deal with all of these cumulated in mental stress for me. I started feeling tired and moody even in the morning.

That was when I asked myself the questions:

Can I afford to bury my head in the sand?

Of what benefit is brooding to me?

What exactly do I need now?

What do I have that can get me out of the mess?

My answer to each of these questions helped me shake off the downcast mood and gather my thoughts. I used them to redirect my focus on the present as it connects to the future. Henceforth, they serve as the basis for my interaction with the new normal.

One, I concluded without any external input that being moody brings no solution to my problem, and if anything, it only worsens the situation. So I had to get rid of it.

And what did I do? I started looking at the more positive side of my life. This freed my mind of its burdens and cleared my head of the fog that had beclouded it.

Then, I was able to consider in clear terms what my needs are. And top on the list is acquiring a new skill that is in demand despite the pandemic and the lockdown. At this point, I made a list of skills, old and new, that are in high demand since the emergence of the new normal.

One skill that stands out overall is computer literacy. After much consideration, I zeroed in on data analysis and related courses, and at this point, Master of Data Science leads the pack.

As it turned out, virtually everything has gone online and computer savviness is at the core. So also is data science, as the world needs to collect multitude of data, evaluate them and uncover the values and treasures hidden in them.

Utilising my background as a teacher and by extension a psychologist, I’ve been able to formulate and implement a short term money fetching plan, and draw out a long term one that is targeted at cushioning any harsh effects of the new normal and maximally explore its potential. Though the whole experience started as a nightmare, today I’m already doing some side business online and looking forward to saving up enough to be able to study online for ‘new normal’ skills that will secure the future of my career and my sanity.