As a sophomore in college you would have thought that being sent home would have been the end of the world, but for me it was just the beginning. While I was eager to go home and be with my family, I had no idea what life had in store for me. Between online classes, a summer job, and a busy house, life has been anything but ordinary. Throughout it all I have learned more about myself and about the world around me, and that is what I want to share with y'all- welcome to my take on quarantine.
Take time for yourself
You only get one body, treat it right. While this may look different for everyone else, I have learned that it is crucial to take care of your mind and your body. For me personally, I find that going for walks outside to start each day, sets me up for success. After being stuck at home for so long, there are days where I need to get out and clear my head. For me, usually a drive around town listening to my favorite music is the cure. Sometimes to decompress I do a face mask and light a candle, other days it is just unplugging and taking a nap. Whatever it may be for you, just take care of yourself, and make yourself a priority.
Challenge your mindset
To me, this means to challenge the bad days and negative thoughts. Simple things like being conscious of how you speak has helped me. Rather than saying the phrase " I have to...." I have found myself consciously thinking " I get to..." instead. This simple change places an emphasis on how lucky I am to be where I am. It takes a chore and turns it into a gift.
Appreciate the early mornings and late nights
For someone who used to sleep until 10:30 or maybe even 11 on the weekends, early mornings have been an adjustment. At first it was for work. I would wake up around 6:40 am to ensure I had time to get ready, eat breakfast, and fully wake up. But, to my surprise, here I am, months out of work, waking up no later than 7:30am for a few weeks now. What I have learned from this is that waking up early just gives you more time to make it a great day. I have developed a bit of "FOMO". Not the normal college student wanting to go out and party, but the feeling in my gut that if I chose to roll over and sleep the day away, I am missing precious time with family and memories to look back on in the future. And that my friends, is the reason I get out of bed each morning. Because I have people I am eager to spend time with, and a full day ahead.
Find your groove
Whether it be balancing school, work, home life or whatever is thrown at you, it is crucial to get into a groove. For me back at the beginning of the pandemic, I had barely gotten into a routine managing school when I started working again and had to readjust. I was now working 27 hours a week while taking 19 credits and still somehow managing to spend time with family, friends, and myself of course. For me, it is all about setting a routine. When it comes to school now, I dedicate most of the day Tuesday- Thursday to academics. This is when my zoom calls take place, and I complete most of my assignments. To make up for the hours that I spend sitting at my desk, I tend to cut my work off those days around 5pm, and spend the other four days mostly unplugged, enjoying the presence of those around me. Online school is overwhelming, there is no debating that. The first week of classes I felt as though I was drowning in work and worried about how the semester would pan out. But soon, I found my groove. While it is different from anyone, this routine is what got me here, to the final stretch of the semester.
Flexibility is key
No one wants a pandemic, or online school. Everyone is making compromises from their previous life each and everyday. Being flexible has not always been my strong suit. I like plans and agendas, and like to stick to them. In a year like 2020, being rigid with plans is not always possible. With that being said I have learned to take each challenge or change that comes my way with a mindset of adjustment. Rather than letting it ruin a day, I start planning for how I need to modify my life, or daily schedule to better adjust. Another place this has been seen is through academics. Teachers are also new to virtual school, and are learning just like we are. I have found through firsthand experience that it is just as important to be patient with instructors as it is for them to be patient with students- we are all going through this together.
Know when to take a breather
While this is very similar to taking time for oneself, I find it serves a different purpose. Whether it be stepping away from a conversation when you are not level headed, or having to close your computer down because you have reached your frustration level, it is important to know your limits, and know when you need to "reset".
Find your people & love them hard
We are human beings and we innately rely on others for survival. To live in a world on lockdown, isolated from friends was a daunting concept to me. For starters it was just me and my family. To my surprise, during this pandemic I believe that we have grown more as a family. I have spent more time with them than ever, and have learned to appreciate being home. After those first few weeks of isolation from friends, it was time to get creative. Whether it be seeing your small circle of people and spending time outdoors in a safe environment, or sitting in car trunks chatting in the parking lot, when there's a will there's a way:) The parking lot trunk talks have to have been one my favorite things in 2020 so far. My friends and I would take over the parking lot backing our cars up and bundling up in blankets talking for hours. And when that wasn't possible, I am so utterly grateful that we live in a world so technologically advanced where in one click of a button I am connected to friends. Overall, it is important to maintain social contact with those who you love. Whether it be from your trunk or through your phone, check in on those you love.
Find a reason to be grateful
My goodness this might be the most important one in my opinion. About a year and a half ago I stumbled upon a quote that read, "Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today". Now I know this quote doesn't apply to everyone, as it is one of faith, but the concept is universal. Each and everyday there are hidden blessings that we look over. It is so simple, yet so powerful to reflect at the end of the day, and identify those blessings. For me personally, before I begin my nightly prayers, I start by saying thanks. I think about the people I saw, the world around me, and even the little things like movies we watched, or food we ate. Even on the hardest of days, there are things to be grateful for. Another way I have done this in the past is create a happiness wall. Using my whiteboard wall in my room, I spent about the entirety of my senior year writing down things that made me happy. I wrote down names, places, songs, and memories that meant something to me, and sparked joy. At the beginning of the pandemic when it seemed life was anything but normal, I tried this again one night in a brainstorm fashion, and came to realize once again, how much there is to be grateful even during these trying times.
Life is precious, don't take another minute for granted
If you haven't realized this by now, then maybe you are one of the lucky ones. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Each waking moment is such a blessing. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, in a matter of days the world can turn upside down. I remember dreading when the news was turned on, hearing the daily counts of new cases and deaths because of the utter devastation it caused me. Take each day in stride, and while being conscious of the fragility of life, make the most of each day with the people you love.
And that is a wrap on what I have learned thus far throughout this pandemic:) My takeaway for you is this quote, "It's not happy people who are thankful, it's thankful people who are happy".