My family does puzzles without looking at the box.
I’m not sure why, I just know I was shamed growing up for so much as glancing at the picture we were trying to recreate. It’s one of those things I thought everyone’s family did. But, as I’m finding out in a time of quarantine when, like everyone else, I’ve been tackling puzzle after puzzle with my roommates, it’s not.
My sister and I would study the picture before cracking open the box and getting to work. Once the seal on the box was broken, there was no turning back.
Not for the Charlie Brown Christmas puzzle I basically have memorized now. Not for the confusing and intricate boat-shaped puzzle. Not even for the 2000-piece monster detailing the Italian coastline. I don’t think we’ve ever finished that one.
Being shuttered indoors and standing on the cliff that is my looming college graduation, I basically think about two things: puzzles and my future.
Both seem equally daunting right about now.
It’s no secret the job market is going to look a lot different for the class of 2020 than for anyone else, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about that a whole lot. As if getting a job in journalism wasn’t tough enough.
It hit me a few days ago — as I was sorting through puzzle pieces of light blue, brown, gray and bright green — that while I was job searching, I was trying to find a picture to look at, something to tell me which pieces to put where.
There’s no road map to all this. There’s not even a picture to try to recreate.
But like a puzzle, each time something falls into place, even something small, it seems like a whole lot of progress — if you’re not a cheater who looks at the box. That feeling when you connect two giant chunks of the puzzle, feeling the pieces connect perfectly? That can happen in life sometimes too. Even for the class of 2020.
I had to remind myself that day will come. The pieces will fit.
I also had to remind myself that there were times I damn near threw the whole puzzle across the room before getting to that point. Patience, grasshopper, I told myself.
It may seem silly to compare my entire future to completing a jigsaw puzzle. Okay, it really is silly to do that. But it was the clarity I needed. In a black hole of uncertainty, clarity is pretty important. I’ll hold onto whatever tiny scrap of it I can get.
This week, News keeps readers updated with the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 coronavirus, in Illinois and at Loyola.
In Sports, Loyola women’s basketball faces losing one of its strongest players as Abby O’Connor announced she’s transferring to Gonzaga University.
In A&E, our film critic Lucas Naber gives an overview of the best movies to watch while in quarantine. Opinion includes The Phoenix Editorial Board’s take on the Lori Lightfoot memes.