This letter is for students in elementary school, high school, and college. I know how important academic success is to all of us. Achieving so much in this time can be stressful because we want to meet our goals, but sometimes we need a break. When we first went on lockdown in 2020, I wasn’t too upset because I needed a break from college anyway. Most of my classes were dragging and I wanted to participate in more extracurricular activities. It seemed great at first to have a longer spring break since I got to work on myself. I even developed new routines to help me establish better goals for myself. For a little while, those routines were working for me. However, after this last year, I am drained. Covid-19 stresses me out in so many ways that it’s indescribable to explain how I truly feel at times because I have so many mood swings throughout the day. First, I’m a second-year College of Education student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, so this means that my schedule is hectic and I take rigorous courses with a huge workload. I’m also the oldest sibling and a first-generation college student, so there’s a lot of pressure. When I’m at home, I have to wear the many hats of being an upstanding sister mom, a cook, a clean, and a student. After a while, those hats start to pile on top of my identity, and I might forget who I am underneath the surface of all of those hats. Most of you can relate to my experiences! As you can see, I have destiny to be a perfectionist at times because I am building a bright future for myself and creating a legacy at the same time for my siblings. Even though this sounds easy, it’s a lot of work and dedication for anyone. But I’m here to tell you today that you don’t have to always focus on being successful.
Now, I’m not saying you should never think about your goals and dreams. I’m also not saying to give up and take a seat on the sidelines. I’m suggesting that success doesn’t have an organized timeline where you have so many due dates because you never know what’s going to happen. For example, as an educator, I’m supposed to complete 50 hours worth of student teaching for my candidacy. Because of Covid-19, I wasn’t able to get my 50 hours, let alone experience the classroom environments. Therefore, a part of me feels like I’m missing out on an experience that can help me build my teaching platform. I’m pretty sure a lot of your plans got thrown off and part of it had to do with your career choices, but here’s the kick: there’s always going to be other options and opportunies, but it might not be through the doors you were hoping to go through. What I mean by this is that after my 50 hours were waived, I saw a post about a scholarship program that guarantees future educators’ experiences within the classrooms and so many more opportunities. I applied and interviewed for the scholarship and now I’m waiting to hear back from the committee. Unfortunately, I don’t know what’s going on with my decision, but this is a prime example of how opportunities can appear in different ways.
Another point I want to make is that Covid revealed a lot of information for all of us. I learned so much about myself and my family and that shaped me into a better person who wants to live a better life, full of excitement and joy. the reason I mentioned those words is that life isn’t always about getting high grades and graduating with a bunch of degrees. Intelligence is not only measured through school, there are other forms of intelligence that you can tap into. I’m tapping into my artistic intelligence and spiritual intelligence. I believe that taking care of myself and loving myself makes it easier for me to keep on a thriving day by day. I encourage you all to think about how Covid-19 impacted you as an individual so that you can create a better version of the person you want to be.