Jessica Sabourin, a business administration student, is trying to keep an open mind about her future.

The past year with its two lockdowns hasn’t been easy been for Jessica Sabourin, a third-year business administration student at Algonquin College, but she has worked hard to make a new normal for herself through routine and by staying busy.

Sabourin, 23, had been employed at a gym in Ottawa since she was 18 and worked her way up to a manager position. Due to COVID she has been laid off three times in the past year.

Working at the gym during the summer was normal for Sabourin. The restrictions weren’t as severe, and it was nice having a sense of normalcy.

“I truly love my job at the gym and I miss it when I’m not there,” says Sabourin. “It was really nice seeing members and regulars. Some people hadn’t left the house since March.”

Before the pandemic Sabourin wanted to see where her career at the gym, now she isn’t sure what the future holds.

She’s been looking into careers as a mortgage broker or agent and is trying to keep an open mind for her future. She plans to apply to Nipissing University to get her Bachelor of Commerce in the fall.

In the meantime, she is working at a dental clinic while she finishes her studies online.

“I actually like the flexibility of being able to have it online, because I’ve been working full time, pretty much for the most of my diploma,” she says. “So, it’s very nice to have the option if I’m at work I can just step out for an hour Zoom call, I can work that into my day.”

Sabourin says she was “very fortunate” to be able to have worked two jobs during October through December for the job security.

“I knew when numbers went back up the gym would be the first thing to get shut down,” she says. “I was killing myself working two jobs and doing school full time, but at the same time it was just nice to have the job security on the backburner.”

As for COVID putting a wrench into her plans, Sabourin, who is still living at home, was supposed to move in with her boyfriend this year.

“I’m not making any kind of commitments or financial purchases until I have stability with my job.”

The past year took a toll on a lot of us mentally, Sabourin is good at keeping busy

“You just gotta let yourself feel it because it will hit you eventually,” she said.

Her advice to others?

“Try to maintain some sort of routine right now,” she says. “Keep some sort of normalcy in your life then you won’t feel like you’re in this rut. Still socialize, still try to talk to as many of your friends as you can. Try and make life as normal as possible given the circumstances.”