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2020 started off like any other year. Everyone had hopes that it would be a fantastic year, after all, 20/20 is normal vision, perfect actually. However, the events that transpired were anything but perfection. In March, around St. Patrick’s day, UD students, as well as other college students, were sent home to quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A majority of responses were gripes--why must we pay an on campus tuition for an online education? Why do we have to sacrifice our college experience? The only plausible answer here is safety. The university didn’t want to make this decision, it’s clear. Neither did other universities; however they made the right decision to look out for the wellbeing of students and professors.

From my time in quarantine and still living in a world affected by coronavirus, I’ve realized personally what I have gained from this experience and what other people have as well. 2020 is still happening. It’s a sad year, but nonetheless a year of lessons. Lessons that we learn even more than when times are going well. 

Lesson 1: The importance of compassion

While everyone is upset about being sent home from school, we learned that not everything is about us. We had to evacuate campus for the safety of not only ourselves, but everyone else. We’ve learned about just how many interactions we make daily with people and how we can spread those interactions to others, which is great, but not when there is a pandemic is going on and there is a risk to spread infection.

Also, everyone learned to wear their mask! Even if it provides them personal discomfort, you wear your mask for other people more so than yourself. Whenever I don’t feel like putting a mask on I consider how important it is to watch out for other people’s safety as well as my own.

Lesson 2: Teachers have important jobs.

With the transition online, many parents were reminded of the significant jobs teachers perform to educate their kids. Teachers give children a stimulating environment while parents work to provide for their families. 

Lesson 3: Grief is extremely hard.

Everyone who has lost someone or has been impacted during this pandemic thus have relearned the value of the people in their lives. It is difficult losing anyone regardless, but to experience direct or even indirect impacts of the pandemic is disheartening. It feels like there is no end in sight to this tumultuous and anxiety inducing time, but we have to stick together. I wish everyone who has been affected encourage those not directly affected to continue being supportive and loving to others who are going through a difficult time.

Lesson 4: Laughter

In spite of the madness, we have still managed to keep things light. Though quarantine memes shared on social media may seem extremely trivial, they teach us that we are all connected together and that no one is alone in the struggles of staying at home.

Lesson 5: Community

Going off of the last lesson, we have all learned that together we are stronger. When you walk into a store and see inspirational signs about how we are all in this together and need each other during these unprecedented times, they are absolutely true. Everyone’s job matters, especially now, and we have all shown that we can work together when times are tough.

Though the pandemic may be far from over, there have definitely been things to gain rather than lose. Through every hard challenge, we learn and gain experience. Stick through these rough times and know that you’re not alone. Wear your mask and limit social interactions. Remember to stay hopeful.

Catherine Hogan is from the UD class of 2023. She loves psych, lit, and running and is currently majoring in communications with an English lit minor. She likes her coffee black and it took her forever to get her driver's license.
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