Even during the worst parts of our lives, there are lessons to learn and grow from whether they are good or bad. As much as I don’t want to accept it, Covid-19 has taught me a lot about myself and the things I needed to work on for a more fulfilling life after. If this makes even one person feel less alone or like they can be honest with themselves, I will be satisfied.
- I wasn’t living for myself.
I have always been the kind of person to care too much about what other people think. I can easily admit it is one of my worst qualities. I am always second-guessing myself and asking for the opinions of others to ensure those around me agree with my decisions. I’m tired of it, and I refuse to let others’ ideas of me dictate how I live whether it’s on something as simple as my outfit or as big as my career choice. At the end of the day, when everyone and everything you have is gone, you only have yourself. If you are not happy with yourself without being validated by others, who are you really? I won’t lie and say I don’t slip up sometimes, and I know in one way or another each one of you feels the same. Use this time to remember that you weren’t given this life to be like everybody else. Wear your craziest outfits, make your voice heard, TAKE RISKS. The worst feeling would be to wake up one day when you’re older and realize you held yourself because you feared what others thought of you.
- Everyone has a different timeline.
Being a transfer and first-generation student, I am constantly comparing myself to my classmates wondering why I can’t be as talented, or as successful, or even why I can’t articulate my words to sound as intelligent. I’ve come to realize that every person around me was handed a different set of cards to work with in their life. Some were given ones that gave them the resources and support to get places quicker than others, and I’ve been working to learn that’s okay. I realized I was chasing a clock that doesn’t exist with the belief that I needed to be up to par with everyone around me. If you are using your cards the best you can right now, that is enough. Remember that it’s okay if you don’t get your perfect job or internship right away, or if you feel like someone is doing better than you. You need to do what is best for you, your time will come.
- Material items really don’t bring you happiness.
Growing up I was always very poor. I never had the trendiest clothes or the newest technology like my friends at school. I was the girl who walked around in the same outfits every week, wearing the same pair of jeans hoping no one would notice. I have always despised this part of my life and romanticized this insane idea that I will only be successful when I can afford the most luxurious brands and own the fanciest things. I would wake up every morning and convince myself that that was the reason I needed to get out of bed and would lead me to happiness. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what is missing in my life when everything I once knew was gone. Through the shock of adjusting, I never once have wished for the newest Chanel bag, or the trendiest Cartier ring, or even the shiniest G-Wagon that would pass me by. I knew none of it could bring me happiness at a time like this, so why would I expect it to bring me overall happiness? I yearn for travel, for laughs with friends, for concerts, for the classroom, for the hugs and handshakes, for the smiles underneath the masks, for the first-times, for the experiences. I realized I took all of this for granted and needed to start appreciating the things I do have. Experiences are more valuable than material goods will ever be.
- I want to see all the world has to offer
A typical 9-to-5 lifestyle has been ingrained in our heads from a young age and I have always thought that’s what my life had to look like. The pattern of school, work, marriage, kids, more work, retirement, and hope that you’re healthy enough to travel and experience more when you’re done with it all. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and choose what’s practical, but this year I have had so much time to reflect on what I truly want. The switch to remote learning and working has shown me that all this time it didn’t have to be this way. Things are rapidly changing and remote work could be offered a lot more often. Who says you have to follow the rules, and that you can’t travel the world and experience life while working? Losing someone in my family this year taught me that life is short and the time we have is precious. I dream of a life where I can rest knowing I did all I could to learn about the world I was lucky enough to live on. I want it to see all, even the most boring parts. I dream of meeting people with new perspectives, trying foods I’ve never heard of, and seeing sights I only imagined were in the movies. No matter what you choose to do with your life, don’t be afraid to try something you think is impossible.
The lessons this pandemic has taught me will stay with me forever. Although this is one of the hardest times of our lives and has hurt so many of us, try your best to find even one lesson you’ve learned about yourself and how you will implement it when things get better.