Finding Happiness in the Bleakest of Times

To say I’m sad is an understatement. I’m heartbroken. 

The recent coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in drastic, unimaginable ways. Selfishly speaking, I’m devastated that the rest of the semester was cancelled. Manhattan College is my home: the welcoming community, friendly faces, and the warm feeling you get while walking through the quad are irreplaceable. Manhattan is home to many unforgettable moments I’ve experienced, and it’s sad to know that I won’t be able to fill this semester with even more memories. There was so much to look forward to: Springfest, my sorority formal, spontaneous trips downtown, and never-ending nights out. Although being back in my hometown has its advantages, I miss hanging out with my friends and laughing uncontrollably. I miss walking past the budding magnolia tree on my way to class in Leo. I miss buying Jdel at 4 in the morning and getting broadway joes delivered to my dorm. I miss catching up with the Locke’s workers and seeing the friendly faces of the public safety officers. I miss hiking up the never-ending flights of stairs our small campus somehow has. Mostly importantly, I miss being in the place I love. 

Although I’m sad for myself for all these reasons, my heart aches for all those who’ve been deeply impacted by this. I feel for those who are sick and who have lost loved ones; for people losing their jobs or are unable to work; for students who can’t go home or who don’t have loving homes to go back to; and for seniors who had to say goodbye earlier then planned. 

What’s happening right now is devastating and unbelievably upsetting. It impacts all of us in a multitude of ways, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that these impacts are mostly negative. Despite how sad it may be to wonder what could’ve been if it weren’t for the coronavirus, it’s important that we all stay positive during this bizarre time. 

Now more than ever, it’s easy and effortless to be sad about life’s circumstances while you’re stuck in quarantine. But instead of feeling that way, focus on all the amazing things you have in life. Be a glass half full type of person. Adjust to the circumstances and make the most of it, because you’ll feel a lot better after doing so. 

During quarantine, I’ve been taking the time to enjoy myself, whether it be finally having enough time to watch Netflix shows or read some of my favorite books. I’m catching up with my family and spending time with them, something I haven’t done in so long. Each day so far, my dad and I have been throwing around a softball, something we haven’t done since I was in high school. I’ve been painting and working on art, which is a long lost hobby of mine. I’m walking my dog around the block and saying hi to old neighbors and meeting some new ones (at a distance of course). I’m checking things off of my to-do list because now that I’m not busy at school, I finally have time to breathe and accomplish my goals. 

So, I encourage you to see this as an opportunity; do something you’ve always wanted to do. Do something you haven’t done in a long time or discover a new hobby. Smile at the sun and be happy about the increasingly warm weather. Find the things in life that bring you joy and surround yourself with them. Instead of dwelling on the bad, look for the good and recognize it.  

Despite all the bad that’s come out of this, a lot of good has come out of it too. Among one of the good things is that it reminds us that life is short. Going forward, I plan to not take anything for granted. Looking back, I can’t believe I ever complained about having to go to class, because I would give anything to be back on campus right now doing classes in person. College is only four years, and I don’t want to waste a second of it. I’m promising myself to take more pictures with my friends, to document all the fun, crazy times that we’ll look back on one day, thankful to have experienced them. I plan to make the most of each moment and go for each opportunity that comes my way. 

I get it, things are kind of the worst right now. But with the right mindset, we can still revel in the joys of life and stay positive about what’s to come. So, I encourage you all to make the most of it.