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Embracing change and finding your way

September 10, 2021

This piece represents the opinion of the author.
Kyra Tan

Greetings, everyone, and welcome (back) to campus! I hope you’ve all been safe, happy and settling in well—and I hope you’re excited, because Nora’s Tarot Vibe Check is back and better than ever for another semester. And now you, too, can have your best semester yet with (drumroll please) FaKe FoRtUnEs! These are some fun and funky fresh (and not clinically proven) ways to increase your luck and have good things happen to you. Try some and see what happens (and email nsulliva@bowdoin.edu with your stories so I can feature your experiences)! And just for fun, I’ll use other card decks (email suggestions welcome!) to do readings, like Cards Against Humanity. So join me as I pick up that cosmic hotline once again to hand-deliver y’all more advice. Now, let’s see what the cards have to say.

For the current situation, I pulled The Fool, which tells us that this is a time of beginnings. There’s uncertainty, excitement and independence in the air. Although we’re still experiencing a global pandemic, the world feels like it’s opening up all around us in ways that it never has before (or is that just because this is the first time I’ve stepped out of my house in a year and a half?). Coming back to campus was an overwhelming experience for everyone, especially for the classes that hadn’t previously had a full year experience (lookin’ at you ’25, ’23 and my ’24 homies). All the students, faculty and staff are back on campus, the quad is hopping, classes and clubs are in-person and the dining halls are … well, we don’t talk about that. With all of these new opportunities (especially following such a restrictive year), it feels impossible to choose a direction. So don’t—explore! Enjoy! And give yourself the space and grace to do so.

For the main challenge, I drew Death. Sucks, I know. But remember that death is just another word for change. This can mean evolution and destruction, both positive and negative. We’re all saying goodbye to many things: the old normal before COVID-19, hometown friends and a year of unmet expectations. And, for some of us, we’ve said goodbye to loved ones, to financial security, to mental peace. The pandemic has changed a lot of things for a lot of us, and we need to honor the emotions that come with that: the grief, the frustration, the loneliness. We need to breathe into the present. Be gentle with yourself while you’re experiencing these growing pains. But be mindful—not only of the change that is happening, but of the changes you want to make. Although everything is up in the air right now, it’s also an opportunity to rearrange different parts of your life. This year is unprecedented in many ways—and so you have the chance to make it unlike any year before.

So, what should you do about all this? The 3 of Cups tells us to (safely!) enjoy our friends, digitally or otherwise. Now that so many of us are back on campus, we have the opportunity to connect and reconnect in new ways. But the advice is much deeper than just “partying” (that is the polar [haha] opposite of what you should do). It’s about leaning on your friends and being someone they can lean on. Check in with each other. Spend time with each other. Know you are never, ever alone—not even in feeling alone. Reach out to others. Ask for advice or give it. Share funny stories, complain, revel in your adolescent angst. Perform small acts of kindness for familiar and new faces alike. This card is not just about strengthening your existing circle, but also about forming a community. Now more than ever, we need each other and the human connection that the pandemic disrupted.

Let’s round off this section with some wise words from Mama Sullivan. Treat your negative thoughts and emotions like you would a horse. First, be gentle and treat them with respect and care. Don’t try to control or contain them. A big horse in a small stable becomes even bigger. Instead, give the horse green grass, fresh water and a large field with plenty of space to run freely. That is, expand your mind to experiences. Separate from the negativity—it’ll still be there, but as a smaller piece of the puzzle. You and your horse will be happier for it.

FaKe FoRtUnEs

* If your name begins with a vowel, eat an egg in some shape or form. And if you can’t do that, maybe try some ~herbal tea~.

* If your favorite color is blue, try to find a nice (already dead!) stick or leaf or pinecone and carry it around for a day or two. If your favorite color is NOT blue, try to find someone else’s thingy and steal it.

* If you’re wearing jeans, try skipping on your walk to class.

Good luck?

Kyra Tan

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