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Living through a global pandemic is already a lot to handle and one thing that my year ago self would have never expected. The last day I experienced a sense of normalcy was March 13th during my second semester as a freshman at the University of Connecticut. The remainder of my spring semester was spent at home, as the world went into emergency lockdowns. At the time, the sudden and rapid spread of the virus and the implementation of regulations across the country became overwhelming. However, the idea that I was not alone, and that all other college students were experiencing the same circumstances, helped me persist through.

Come summer time, I was very much expecting to be at Storrs in the fall, seeing that the spread of the virus slowed, and there were talks of a vaccine. However, it is now November and I am finishing up the first semester of my sophomore year. Considering that I have spent the last 8 months at home as a full-time college student, I definitely have had the time to reflect and learn a lot about myself.

For starters, I have to admit that this semester has been extremely stressful. The reason being is that I personally love to always be busy and occupied with something. Thus, I have been working 6 days a week while doing my studies. From having such a tight schedule, I was able to force myself to be more organized. Even using a wall calendar allowed me to have time management with school work and an improvement in my grades. Seeing that my newfound organizational skills helped me to procrastinate less and stay active, I started to believe in myself more. Just the daily reminder that I have to make the best of the situation motivated me even more. 

With such an unprecedented and stressful year, I am glad that I have grown to have less self doubt. I have been fortunate enough to take away some positives as I reflect on this semester. Although I could get into the negatives more, I want to emphasize the importance of the little things that make a difference. Forcing myself to stay productive and organized actually helped me see that I am capable of getting the things done that I used to dread. From dedicating time to exercising almost daily, and just even taking notes for class, I was able to improve my work ethic and motivation during such a crazy time. At the end of the day, knowing anything can happen in a split second has taught me to appreciate the little things and to believe in myself so much more.

Natalie is a junior at the University of Connecticut studying Marketing with a concentration in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics. Even if she is running, cycling, or reading a book you can always find her listening to classic rock records.
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