Way back in March, it felt like the end of the world when everything entered lockdown. In the midst of visiting my grandma over Spring Break, which I’m glad I did back then since I won’t see her for awhile for safety reasons, I received an email from my work laying me off and then another email from my school telling me that everything was now online until further notice. I remember before heading on my trip talking with my friends about the virus spreading overseas, but little did I know that it was closer than I would think. So within a three-day-span, I lost my job, now had online school and was headed back home to my family because they didn’t want me living in San Francisco due to my weakened immune system.
When I got home, I was happy to be with my family and felt a false sense of security. Within a week of me returning, my Mom was suddenly running a fever. We had taken all precautions, but my Mom still caught COVID-19. For the next three weeks, my mom battled one of the worst sicknesses she’s ever had while my brother, Dad and I did everything to keep her healthy and safe within a quarantine room. We started facetiming her from the living room so we could still see her, we played games through the phone together and adapted to the situation the best we could. It was terrifying and stressful, and my mind went to every horrible outcome that could happen. But despite how horrible the situation was, we grew closer. We made sure to lift each other up in the worst of time and its improved my relationship with my family a lot, especially with my mom. We used to clash a lot because of how similar we were, but almost losing her made us closer than ever. I cherish every moment I now get to have with my family that I wasn’t supposed to.
I originally left home that previous Fall knowing it was time for me to leave home and become my own individual. Life had another idea when it came to leaving the nest, but before going back I was entirely independent and only called to chat. I worked a full-time job while going to school full-time, but now I work a part-time job and go to school full-time. This left me a lot of time I didn’t have before to reflect on what I was doing with my life and who I was associating with. I found that some friends weren’t as true as I thought they were, while I needed to appreciate others more because they stood by my side. I found myself craving human connection and started calling my friends more. We had game nights and movie nights, which made it feel less lonely when I was stuck at home with my family. I look forward to seeing my friends in person, but for now I know that they love me from all over the country.
When it came to using my free time, I decided to explore new hobbies that benefited me mentally and emotionally. Just like everyone else, I spent way too much time on TikTok, so I decided to try baking. Turns out, I’m not great at baking, but now I can say I tried. Then I tried doing yoga for fun, which just resulted in me falling a lot, but did help me build core muscles while also helping me relax. After yoga, I decided to watch some shows that I never got around to. I started with Criminal Minds because even though I’ve met Matthew Gray Gubler five times because he was an alumni from my high school, I had never watched his iconic role. So I started it and loved it! I was always a true crime fan and so while I binged the show, I also colored in my coloring books I hadn’t touched in years. My mom joined me in watching the show, but wasn’t a fan of doing coloring books so she wrote in her journal while we watched. After that, I finally finished Jane the Virgin and then started Schitt’s Creek. I really enjoyed the extra time of being able to do things I liked and trying new things.
When school started back up again this August, I was able to focus on my studies more than ever and discovered my passion for public relations. I found it fun and wanted to continue to invest my interest in the field. Now I have a couple of certifications to help me enter the field of PR after graduation, which I would never have gotten if I didn’t have this extra time. I also was able to join the Her Campus organization at my school, which as you can see from this being an article, that I love. I would never have been able to do this if we were still pre-COVID because if I wasn’t at school, I was working or sleeping. I didn’t really have a “life,” which I don’t now, but I do know myself better.
While quarantine and everything has caused an increase in stress and anxiety, I’ve been practicing self-care and allowing myself mental health days. I honestly feel better mentally now than I have before despite the times. Basically, despite the situation, it is important to look back and reflect on how something can be seen in a better light. Yes I lost my job, but I am now looking forward to a field that I actually want to be in. Yes things are all online, but now I have time to enjoy small things that I couldn’t have before. Yes I’m living with my parents again, but I wouldn’t have this extra time to be with them if things didn’t happen. I now have a better relationship with my family and friends, but especially with myself. So I encourage everyone to take this time, and instead of complaining about how you’re bored and tired of being in quarantine, to work on yourself and explore new hobbies or interests.