Kellyn Simpkin-Strong Girl Back One Arm

Strengths We’ve Gained from Quarantine

As we start to get back into the fast-paced nature of college life, we have been in no short supply of stress. It makes sense then that we have spent a lot of time discussing the challenges we have faced during the unprecedented time of COVID-19. We have been able to find ways to cope like binge-watching TV series, spending time in the Arbo, and dancing. And we have even learned the best ways to stay politically active remotely and the best ways to make our dorms feel like home

It is so important to acknowledge the difficulty of this time. Yet, despite the fact that none of us were ready for this pandemic, we have found ways to thrive. So, we want to take the time to reflect on the strengths we have gained from this experience. Because even though we are struggling now, we are going to come out of this stronger.

  1. 1. Elizabeth Vinson, '21

    Before COVID, I was scared of the future. I was beginning to seriously think about my future beyond college, and I was honestly still trying to find my place at Conn. Then, of course, quarantine upended that attempt, and many of the almost-friendships I had been trying to establish suddenly fell away. Going home felt like somewhere safe and protected. But the longer quarantine went on, the more I felt stagnant, and that’s not what I wanted for my college experience. College is supposed to be a time of growth and self-discovery, of freedom and independence, and of figuring out who you might want to become. Living with my parents again didn’t help that. 

    So, I made a decision. I decided that I wouldn’t let this pandemic set me back. I took chances. I reached back out to the company where I had been trying to get an internship, and I was able to get a summer job. As the president of Conn’s literary and arts magazine, I came up with a plan to use our social media platform as a place for inspiring creativity. And I decided that when classes started again in the fall, I was going to take classes and join clubs (even if it was my senior year) that pushed me. For me, in some weird way, this pandemic inspired me to reflect on my life so far and pushed me to do things, big and small, that I would not have normally done. Perhaps, my greatest strength coming out of this would be learning to take risks, though not unreasonable ones, that put me on track to achieve the life I want.

  2. 2. Elizabeth Berry, '21

    Like many students this past spring semester and summer, I lived at home with my parents (and two cats) where I spent the majority of my time sitting in my childhood bedroom, switching between my bed and desk. I was also fortunate enough to have two remote editorial internships to keep busy throughout the week. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I believed that I thrived when I was balancing multiple positions, homework, and hanging out with my friends. But after my busiest summer yet, I realized that although I do not like to have too much free-time, my body doesn’t function well once burnout hits. This self-discovery is something I am still grappling with this fall semester as I try to balance self-care with virtual learning and extracurricular activities. I hope that I am able to be more honest with myself when I am feeling burned out, and say “no” when deep down I know that my body needs a night of rest and relaxation. 

  3. 3. Elyce Afrifa, '22

    Quarantine came out of nowhere. One day we were all in school and having a normal semester, and the next day everything was cancelled. Stores were closing down, and we had to stay home. At first I was like, how hard can it be? I am already a lowkey homebody, but when you are being told to stay home, you kind of start to get this feeling of being trapped. I suddenly thought about all the things I had never done. I had never traveled, and I wasted summers staying at home all day. I decided when this was all over, I would change that. I also got really introspective and was starting to think about my goals and started working out more to fill the day. At the start of 2020, like most people, I said this is going to be my year. When schools got cancelled, I was wavering a bit on that, but now that we are in September I think 2020 still might be my year. It was a year of self growth and realizing what I want and finding a love for exercise and prioritizing my health and doing what makes me happy. I hope others have gone through the same process or are inspired to do so.  

  4. 4. Sarah Hennig, '24

    When the coronavirus and ensuing quarantine began, I was in the middle of my second semester of senior year. I had been imagining this semester for most of my high school career, excited for all the fun activities like senior picnic, prom, and, of course, graduation. The reality was much different than anyone could have ever anticipated. Quarantine forced me to be stuck in my house nearly all day, unable to see any of my friends. My dreams of a fun final semester of high school with my friends slowly slipped away, and the hours of free time quickly turned into ones of loneliness and boredom. Eventually, I learned how to utilize that free time, and I learned how to be alone.  Quarantine forced me to confront my inner thoughts and discover who I am and what I enjoy in life. I learned to fill my free time with things that made me truly happy that I normally wouldn’t have as much time for: reading, biking, and quality time with my family, among others. I am grateful for the skills I learned and the self growth I experienced during quarantine. I learned a lot about myself, the type of person I am, and how to be happy while alone.

Above all else, we have learned more about ourselves and the ways that we can grow stronger in the face of difficulties. We have found ways to grow, and we have also discovered our limits. Especically during a time that feels so overwhelming and exhaustating and neverending, it is important to reflect on the things that you have gained from this experience.