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Looking for a Light in the Dark: Searching for Positivity During a Global Pandemic

It’s difficult to convey how it feels living during this time. A few months ago, life was so simple. I was a regular college freshman starting my second semester. I was meeting new people, having new experiences, and finding myself. My biggest woes were dining hall food and too much homework. Then, things changed almost overnight.

In the blink of an eye, life as we once knew it seemed to disappear. Almost every university student in the nation was sent home for the duration of the semester. Travel bans plagued airports nationwide. Restaurants and nonessential businesses were shut down. Supermarkets ran out of necessities like toilet paper and water. Professional sports leagues canceled their entire seasons. The stock market began to crumble. Each day seemed to bring a new challenge, as mass hysteria seemed to be more contagious than the disease itself.

When we are in our regular routines, it is easy to forget that life is finite, fragile, and precious. Coronavirus has managed to remind us of how easily everything can come crashing down. It has caused life to implode, and now, we are left to pick up the pieces, together.

person sitting at the edge of a bed with an open book in their lap and a cup of coffee in hand
Anthony Tran | Unsplash

But what of the pieces? We are left with an empty space now; a blank page. As the disease rages on, we have been given a chance to rewrite life as we know it.

It is difficult to see any positive side of this frightening time. Yet, this horrifying pandemic has forced me to think about so many vital things that I hadn’t before: The impact I can have in the world, my place in it – not as an individual – but as a human part of something bigger, the beauty in the simple things in life, and a greater appreciation for my own. 

The fact that there is a worldwide pandemic is not reason for celebration. It is heart-wrenching. It is painful. It is terrifying to wonder if you and those you love will survive.

But for all the life this disease has taken away, it has also given so much back.

I have never had so much time. Time to ponder. Time to love. Time to wonder. Time to breathe. Time to observe. Time to be. I may not know what tomorrow brings, but if this illness has taught me anything, it’s that every single day is a gift.

Alisa Anton U_Z0X
Alisa Anton / Unsplash

I have done more little things that make me truly happy in the two weeks I have been forced to quarantine than I have in a long time. Don’t get me wrong; I really miss my friends, I miss my school, I miss going out, and I miss regular life. Yet, there is a silver lining in all of this. It has given us the chance to strip away everything and re-evaluate what makes us human again. With the fog of society cleared away, we can see the stars. 

My heart goes out to all suffering during this time, because it would be ignorant not to acknowledge that for some it is harder than others. This situation isn’t easy by any means. However, sprouting from all the pain is incredible human goodness. People are realizing that they are not the only ones in this world, and that everyday small individual sacrifices make the world a lot better as a whole.

This morning, slits of light from the sun peeking through my shades woke me up. I sat up for a moment, and the light seemed to shroud my room in a hazy glow. I looked down at my chest rising and falling as my lungs filled with air. My hair fell in messy pools at my shoulder. I clenched my fists and my veins pulsated slowly.

My mind was empty and full all at once, and in that moment, I was never happier to be alive.


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Autumn is a junior studying film/television & journalism at Boston University. She is extremely passionate about writing & film, traveling, her family and friends, and telling stories.
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