College Students VS. COVID-19: The Race Against Time

This year, without a doubt, has been one of the hardest years of everyone's lives. We’ve all suffered in one way or another. It has been a year of solitude, sorrow, and somber, and let's be honest, no one is the same person they were a year ago.

Before COVID hit, I always “felt my age.” As a 19-year-old, I felt that I had all this time and life ahead of me. But since quarantine, I, and what seems like most college students, have felt like we’re in a race against time. We feel as though we just lost a year of our lives where we were supposed to be with our friends, making mistakes, figuring out who we are and who we want to be, and just enjoying our college experience. Instead, we all sat alone in our rooms, attending class through our screens and seeing friends over Facetime. Just waiting and hoping for the day where life could feel “normal” again.  overhead view of a woman sitting in front of her laptop Photo by energepic.com from Pexels We're coming up on one year of socially-distanced, masked days, and life has slowed down to what feels like almost a complete stop. Our days are repetitive, our tasks are tedious, and frankly, we’re all guilty of idealizing a post-covid life. A life in which we’re putting all of this pressure on ourselves to never take another day for granted. We want to have new and exciting experiences and make 10x as many friends as we had before. But putting all of this pressure on ourselves to accomplish so much is making us stressed, anxious and overwhelmed with the thought that we won't be able to accomplish everything that we want in our “limited” amount of time.

woman on bed with coffee Photo by Kinga Cichewicz from Unsplash However, what I have come to realize is that the reason we feel like we have such a limited amount of time is because everything we knew and loved about our daily lives abruptly vanished. This left us with a fear that it will inevitably happen again, and we will be forced back into our houses with no connection to our friends and lives.

And while it is hard to see “perspective” in such an unprecedented time, it is important to remember that this will not last forever, and eventually, we will get back to our lives. It will probably look and feel a lot different for a while, but slowly, it will happen.

three silhouettes in orange sunset Photo by Levi Guzman from Unsplash It’s hard to not feel like you’re in a race against time, but trust me, you’re not. I try to remind myself of this a lot, that time is just a mindset, but it’s hard and very easy to forget.

We did lose a lot this year, and it’s okay to be upset and frustrated by that, but once we return to “normal,” it’ll be equally as important to remember all that life during COVID-19 taught us. It’s great to have goals for your post-covid life, but go easy on yourself. Rather than creating a bunch of extravagant ideas, make smaller, realistic ones. Maybe say yes to hanging out with friends more, rather than trying to make 10 new best friends. Or incorporate more exercise into your routine, rather than saying you must lose 15 lbs before summer. And most importantly, appreciate the small things in your days, the things we once took for granted, like smiling at a stranger or hugging a grandparent.

couple hugging Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash We’ll all get through this together. As my mother likes to put it, we’re on mile 25 of this marathon and the finish line is in sight. Go easy on yourself and remember that you’ve got a lot of life left to live.