I’m sure no one planned to experience a global pandemic during their college experience, and I’m no exception. Especially since it’s my last semester here at UD, social distancing has really thrown a wrench in my senior plans, and sometimes maintaining a positive and healthy mindset can be challenging. It can be easy to sink into disheartening thoughts about the state of the world and the unfortunate fact that I’m going to miss out on some experiences I was really looking forward to. When these thoughts and feelings come up, I take my time to feel them out and process them, understanding that my emotions and experiences are valid. That being said, I try not to dwell on them and remember to keep things in perspective. I choose to practice gratitude, taking time to appreciate the blessings I have in my life, and acknowledging that this is difficult for everyone but that I am safe and healthy, which is a privilege in itself. I believe it is important to find a balance, accepting and processing your feelings, while still maintaining perspective and gratitude.
I have also chosen to practice patience and forgiveness with myself, when I am low-energy or when I am not as optimistic or productive as I want to be. This is an unprecedented time period that most of us weren’t prepared for in the slightest. It is difficult to adjust your life on that large of a scale. Human beings are social creatures, so it is normal to feel a little blue when you can’t socialize with your friends in person for months. Add to that the monotony of quarantine and losing out on senior activities, and it’s understandable that I have had little motivation lately. So, I am being patient and flexible with myself, since being harsh on myself would likely get me nowhere and just make me feel worse. Instead, I am taking things slowly and allowing myself the time I need to process things, even when I am not being “productive” according to certain standards.
Although I don’t believe escapism is the best way to handle internal conflict, I do think a certain amount of distraction can be helpful during this time, and certain hobbies have provided me both distraction as well as an outlet for any emotions I need to express or energy I need to burn off. During this quarantine, I have read many books, including many audiobooks that I have borrowed electronically from my local library for the times I don’t have the energy or motivation to read a physical book. I have been practicing art and learning embroidery as a new hobby, since I have the time. I have also tried my best to keep in contact with my friends, even hosting a Zoom call for my birthday in April. Of course, I have also watched a fair amount of YouTube videos and Netflix shows, listened to new music, and mixed some homework and classes into my schedule to keep on track with my semester.
The scenario we currently face is less than ideal, and we all need to take it one day at a time. If I could urge people to do anything, it would be this: have kindness and understanding in your heart for yourself and those around you, and give yourself the time you need to process anything you might be feeling during this time. And, of course, always practice gratitude and keep a healthy level of perspective in mind.
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