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What a Year Through the Pandemic Has Taught Me

Ever since I last stepped foot on campus back in March 2020, I’ve seen life through a new lens. Lockdown after lockdown, my life went from going out with friends for lunch and having get-togethers, to staying home all day and working on my online classes. This sudden change made me realize just how much importance I placed on my social activities, and I realized how lonely I now felt without human connection. 

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However, despite the halt in activities, I, just like many of you, began to rely more and more on video chat and messaging. Before COVID-19, I used texting more for "hey, what time are we going out?" texts rather than relying on texting for full-on conversations I would have normally had face-to-face. While social media and texting my friends and family helped me keep in touch, I really missed seeing my circle in real life, and it was tough not being able to.

Another thing that was a major change for me, as it was for most of you, was the switch to online classes. I’m currently taking classes that are online, and I have one more semester lined up with classes over the web, but if there’s anything that the pandemic taught me, it's that I do much better with in-person classes. Having classes online has really been a test of discipline, time management and overcoming procrastination. As soon as one class meeting ended, I’d hop onto the next meeting on Zoom, rather than walking to my next class (I really miss those walks). 

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Although not easy by any means, I decided to treat my online classes as if they were in-person by attending all Zoom lectures and labs and keeping the same study schedule I would have had if these classes were in-person. It’s so easy to crawl back into bed and snooze while organic chemistry is taking place, but I had to overcome that urge because I knew it would snowball into an even bigger problem!

With all the changes that went on in my life during this time, I felt discouraged at times. Thoughts of this pandemic coming to an end were unthinkable to me a year ago today. Personally, the idea of a vaccine for this virus seemed out of this world. Now, with a vaccine and even myself being vaccinated, I feel so thankful that things are looking much better for us. All the times and things I took for granted — time with family, walking to classes, and even going to the movies — I appreciate to the point where I can’t even begin to describe. 

[bf_image id="fs8q24q3wrgmm3hx5kqwk3tv"] All of us have overcome so much during this time, from tragic loss to unemployment and battles with mental health — we have been through so much. The stuff I mentioned here is just a grain from the desert of hardships I faced from the onset of the pandemic to now, but I'm here to tell you that you are strong and can continue to move forward!

Saarah Sherifi is a writer for HerCampus UCF and is the founder of the online news company, Stronger in Unison.
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