Were you in college or high school when the pandemic hit the country? What was the biggest impact on your life during the first few months of the pandemic? I was in college when the pandemic hit the country. The biggest impact on my life was that I had to move back home, and I lost my job. Being back home was great, except it provided my mom with another mouth to feed and not a lot of financial help from me since I suddenly found myself unemployed.
What were the challenges of transitioning from seated classes (either high school or college) to online learning? The biggest challenge for me was staying focused. It is a lot easier to get distracted on Zoom then in a classroom. I had to set up a workspace for myself away from any distraction…including my cat who hung up on one of my first Zoom classes. It was also a challenge to stay on top of work because being home, I would occupy myself with other tasks. I had to remind myself that I had schoolwork to do.
What is the greatest lesson you took away from the pandemic (from the beginning to the point we are currently at with social distancing, masking)? The greatest lesson I learned during the pandemic was to never take life for granted and to enjoy the little things every day. Pre-pandemic my mom and I traveled a lot and went to several concerts and events, I went out to eat. I always had a job I knew would be there, and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.
During the pandemic, all of that was lost. From this, I learned to never take those things for granted and to always take time to enjoy what I’m doing. I also learned how to enjoy the little things. I may not be able to eat out, but I love to cook and when I’m cooking and trying new things, I get to spend time with my loved ones in the kitchen. My backyard isn’t as fancy as some of the places I’ve traveled to, but I can still listen to music while playing cornhole and working on my garden with my mom and boyfriend which is just as fun as any vacation.
How did you practice Self-Care-As-A-Bear in dealing with the stress of online classes, isolation from friends and activities, general stress of dealing with the unknown? I started every morning with a workout before any of my online classes started because it helps me feel alert and lighter. I also spent a lot of time outside in the warmer months soaking up the sun, working on my garden, and just getting in some me-time. While social-distancing and staying home can still be hard, I find comfort in knowing that I am doing my part. I help take care of my grandpa and any time I can spend with him because I know it is safe due to me staying home, brings me joy and helps me feel connected again.
What did you learn about yourself as you went through/continue to go through the pandemic? I learned that I am stronger than I sometimes believe I can be. My grandma was my very best friend, and we sadly lost her at the start of the pandemic. While I still miss her tremendously every day, that grief is not something that I let consume me. I know she would be so proud of all that I am still accomplishing.
When the shutdown first started, I was taking some of my hardest classes. I thought there was no way I could figure out the material online. I realized that with a little hard work and extra time commitment, it can be done, and I made the Dean’s List.