Life from a Next-Gen Perspective
Hi TFF Community! It’s me, Annora Mack. I have been the Social Media Manager and Community lead for the past 9 months. While I feel like I know many of you, most of you don’t know me.
Without digressing too far from the topic on hand I would like to share a bit about myself with you. I come from a multi-cultural background, I was born in the USA and grew up in Switzerland. I strongly identify with both cultures, languages and social norms but if asked I lean towards being Swiss. I speak multiple languages and have an interdisciplinary background having studied both Art and Health Sciences at University. Just last summer I graduated from Gettysburg College with two Bachelor’s degrees and started my first job with TFF. I am hoping to start my Master’s in epidemiology this Fall.
My racing – but committed – Next-Gen mind
Today I sit behind my screen typing away but all the time wondering what tomorrow will bring. Being online most of the day, I (and I bet most of you are too) am constantly exposed to content and news from all parts of the world. Admittedly, I often feel oversaturated with information, and even lost sometimes when I think about my future. But I have a plan and I have hope. I am a creative person and want to apply my skills in the health industry, creating Global Health policies for worldwide equitable healthcare provision. I have aspirations of becoming first a data analyst and then a global health policy expert.
You might be thinking, what does this have to do with TFF?
I consider myself a change-maker committed to creating a more livable future. Since working at TFF this burning desire to create change has only increased—you might want to check out the concept of the 6 Next-Gen Attitudes which basically is a toolkit for everyone to become a next-gen change-maker. At the same time, one of the biggest challenges that I am facing is that we are living in a world that’s changing so fast I can hardly keep up. I have my whole career ahead of me, but it’s crazy to be a young adult these days, and all the global developments of 2020 (let alone the #covid19 outbreak) have left me #shook. Are you feeling like these massive global events we have been experiencing are shaking the foundations of our world? Me too.
How is it that we are supposed to continue living life as normal when there is no guarantee that it will – or should for that matter – go back to the way things were before the outbreak of COVID-19? How long will we have to self-isolate? Think of the psychological implications of extended quarantine and lack of human interaction…What would life be like if this pandemic kills a significant percentage of the human population? Can the world collectively just “move on” in the wake of a major pandemic? I have so many questions that cannot be answered in any way other than hypothetically simply because; We. Do. Not. Know.
Don’t get me wrong, I am confident that what the world needs right now is level headed people combatting the insanity that is igniting around us. These questions that keep circulating in my head are not what-if scenarios, they stem from pure curiosity. This is history in the making and we all have front row seats! I believe that there will be a vaccine, we will begin to understand this virus and most people will survive. After the dust settles we will innovate our pandemic response protocols and keep moving forward. I’m not an expert in politics or economics but I’m very curious as to what the broader implications of this pandemic will be.
We have been calling to action the people who care to make a difference on this planet and what better time to harness the power of the human race than in the face of a major paradigm shift such as this global pandemic? Perhaps we can use this systemic shock to draw attention to causes such as climate change, global health provision, poverty, malnutrition, food security, to name a few. Consider the effect and massive potential impact of piggybacking campaigns which all ultimately aim to improve the lives of all beings on Earth…
Some people criticize those who seize opportunities in the face of certain crises, and to some extent, I have to agree; buying out all the toilet paper, face masks and hand sanitizer that are vital for medical staff, for example. However, I do think that this is the time to take the chance on yourself and make bold decisions about who and what you want to be in life. Think about how you can have an impact on humanity and the world, and more importantly how that makes you a happier, healthier and better person.
Navigating change authentically
If I think back to just a short year ago, I was most worried about tripping on stage at graduation and when I would be seeing my best friends again, it feels like a lot has changed. The point is it’s not a bad thing. Seeing change as an opportunity is a choice, it’s a strength, and if used to one’s advantage can be hugely beneficial. We as young people have to master the skill of navigating change – because change is the one certain constant in our lives. Reflect on ways that you could turn this situation into something positive and be sure to share these with your peers because chances are they could use the inspiration.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the negative news that is prevalent on the internet and social media these days. It’s important to remember that we are the generation that has grown up with this constant news cycle and information flow which has proven effects on our mental health and well being. Take a break, and lean into the power of friends and communities like TFF. We are also a generation that is more open, don’t be afraid to talk to people about your fears and feelings. This authenticity is what unites us. It is the human experience.
What I think is important is that we take a pause, step back from the polarized messages that we’re taking in from our news feed every day, and reflect on what situations like these teach us. What is it that we can learn, how can we adapt to the external changes and leverage our unique strengths for the next challenge that is waiting for us? And if you see the silver lining in it all you can mold the next chapter of your life into exactly what you want it to be.
As a part of the global TFF Community, we have to help support each other and communicate with each other, not only about our mission in food and ag but also our perspectives on the broader issues at hand—which, most of the time, are inextricably linked to our food systems anyway. And remember, be open and kind; chances are someone you know is also struggling with the current state of affairs.
I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections – don’t be shy – let me know if this resonated with you and be sure to pass it along to someone you think could benefit from a glimpse into life in 2020 from a next-gen perspective!
Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!