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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

We are nearing the one year anniversary of the entire world shutting down. Isn’t that crazy to think about? The fact that we’ve been navigating a new normal for almost a year now? Despite the pain, sadness, horror, and complete and utter failure of leadership that has occurred this past year, we have much to be thankful for. 

I took many positives from this past year. However, one thing I learned to appreciate the most was the great outdoors. I will say, my family is very outdoorsy. We go camping every year, hike often, and enjoy long bike rides, but it wasn’t until I was in peak quarantine that I truly realized how much mother nature had to offer. I had all the time in the world to appreciate the colors, sounds, and sights of my beautiful beach town and the surrounding areas. The sound of waves crashing became a symbol of peace and serenity. The sand between my toes provided a sense of comfort and warmth. The colors of sunrise and sunset skies reminded me that we all live on the same planet and we’re all in this together. Oh, and can’t forget about the happy puppies I would see on the beach that made me smile at least once a day. 

Long walks and runs became a part of my daily routine. I looked forward to them and they provided a sense of structure to my long and abnormal days. The sun instantly improved my mood and having the privilege of spending extra quality time with my family during these outdoor activities was an added bonus. I also had the opportunity to turn my school and work space into an outdoor office. Because when you’re trapped in the house, why not? Writing a ten page paper isn’t too bad when you can get a tan out of it. 

Lastly, being outside provided me with a way to keep some sense of social interaction. Socially distant hangouts with my friends outside truly kept me sane. Whether it was meeting at the beach to sit on towels six feet apart to just talk, walking through the neighborhood together, or sitting on park benches to laugh and enjoy each other’s presence, it was always the highlight of my day. 

Our planet has so much to offer and I am so grateful for all it does for us. From providing aesthetically pleasing views, activities, and a place to feel happy and safe, we have so much to be appreciative of, even the worst of times. 

Haley LaKind

U Mass Amherst '23

Haley LaKind is a junior Communication and Journalism double major on the Public Relations Track. She enjoys writing biweekly articles for Her Campus as well as running the chapter instagram page @hcumassamherst. Her hobbies include exercise, travel, journaling, and spending time with friends and family. At UMass she is also involved with UMass CHAARG and the Public Relations Club.
Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst