There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has affected us all. With being forced to quarantine, we all had different perspectives about the virus. When quarantine first started, I told myself that I would use this time to better myself, and I began reading The Self Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser. It was great at first as I learned a lot about myself and got to the root of my anxiety. But as time passed I began to feel isolated and the effects of COVID began to hit me. I wasn’t getting the graduation that I expected, I couldn’t see my friends as much, and the only place I could go to was work. As much as I wanted to apply everything I was learning from the book into my real life, it was difficult to do that when there was so much uncertainty around me.
After weeks of being stuck with my own thoughts, I finally decided to see a therapist. I don’t know what it is about confiding in a stranger but it comforts me every time. Just as my second therapy session rolled around, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis due to police brutality, causing a striking increase in racial tensions across the nation. At first it didn’t really bother me but as more cases were brought to light I began to get frustrated at the idea that no matter what I do or how I portray myself, there will always be people who only see me as my skin color. As I thought and wrote about what I was experiencing, my writing became less journal entries and more creative writing. I wrote about myself, my past, and my expected future. I began to use writing as an outlet for my anxieties and stresses with the world. While writing helped get out my current anxieties, I couldn’t shake the anxieties I felt about starting college.
Knowing that this was a big transition in my life, I tried to prepare the best I could. I bought decor, storage, and school supplies but as move-in day got closer I became more and more anxious about my first year of independence. I’ve never been a social butterfly but I definitely wanted to make more friends. Because of COVID, orientation was moved online and I wasn’t able to meet new people. I knew it would be hard once I got there as well because most in person activities were moved online.
Now that I’m at school, I can honestly say that it’s better than I thought it would be. With school being held online, the transition was made easy because I am able to do the work at my own pace. Socially, online classes make it harder to meet new people and create relationships with my professors. I opted to start my classes face-to-face but since we’ve already started to cover material, I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know my classmates. Although I can’t redo my first few weeks on campus, I still anticipate having a normal start to a new semester in January.
While the changes caused by COVID have been difficult to adapt to, being at school has definitely given me a positive outlook on the situation. The change of scenery let me use everything I learned from Shannon Kaiser’s book and allowed focus on other things. Between journaling and seeing a therapist I was able to find some peace with it all. I also began following mental health platforms that cater to black girls like @vibesofablackgirl, @saddie_baddies, and @transparentblackgirl. Therapy For Black Girls is also a safe space that gives black girls access to therapists and mental health resources.