Why I’ve Decided to Start Living

Immediately, there’s an empty pit in your stomach as you’re driving on the freeway. It seems like that cop behind you has been following you for the last half hour. You exhale with a sigh of relief when at your next glance they’re nowhere to be seen in the rearview mirror and you’re suddenly left with a feeling of gratitude for not being pulled over. For the rest of the drive, you remember how nice it is to just cruise without death gripping the wheel.

Fall is giving way to winter. The seasonal cold comes hand in hand with the inability to breathe through both sides of your nose, frustration caused by a painfully sore throat, constantly feeling bad when an occasional cough slips out during class. It is in this very moment that you, submerged in the side effects of sickness, regret doing whatever it was that got you sick. It fails to cross your mind, though, how much worse it really could be. 

Frolicking In Field 1 Arianna Tucker / Her Campus

As I’m sure you’ve heard within the last few weeks, the world is going through extraordinary circumstances. It’s not every day that a nation is told to avoid face-to-face interaction with other people. Whether it be ordering a coffee, giving that friend you haven’t seen in months a big warm hug or going from store to store at the mall, life’s circumstances have clearly changed in ways we used to take for granted. We never used to care about whose exhaled breath you’ve inhaled, what you touched or how close you got to those around you, yet now these are the types of things taking over the headlines of the nightly world news, social media and articles everywhere. It seems none of us are able to go a day without escaping the words ‘social distancing,' 'quarantine' and 'virus,' among others.

Maybe I’m the only one, but because of these hard times, the sad headlines and a harsh reality that is suddenly being forced into our faces, I am the first to leave the room when the five o’clock nightly news rolls around. Somehow, during this time I’ve felt the most connected to the world than ever before without even being out in it.

Girl jumping with red heart balloon Via Denise Husted on Pixabay

Being a college student is already stressful enough as it is. We juggle schoolwork, good grades, a social life with friends, time with family, countless clubs and extracurricular activities, and sometimes even a job. Now we’re being told that we will have one less spring semester spent on campus as college students and we’ll never get it back. But there are good things to come out of our situation too. The way I see it, we can complain about all that’s different, how hard it is to be away from loved ones and how our situation is really not ideal. Or we can decide to still see the positivity in this difficult time. Let’s choose the latter. 

Kellyn Simpkin-Strong Girl Flexing And Smiling Kellyn Simpkin / Her Campus Although I’m a late bloomer in figuring out who I am and who I want to be in the future, what’s been happening in the world around us these last few months has opened my eyes to something so much more important. While those things are important and I do care so much about finding those answers, my eyes have been opened to something seemingly so much more valuable in my life right now. Through this experience of being deprived of precious laughs with friends, long rides in the driver’s seat, and a college semester, I have come to realize how much I’m going to change in my life once this is all over.

From this experience, I will hug my family and friends every time I see them as if it’s the last, I will wear clothes more my style, I will never take for granted a trip to the movies or a night out with my friends. I feel like it would only be right if once this is over, there was an annual national holiday where all day everyone goes around complimenting each other, giving out hugs, and spreading happiness and gratitude for the people we are fortunate enough to have and the things we are fortunate enough to do normally every day without thinking twice. Well, because of this experience, I will think twice.

Photo by Jose G. Ortega Castro from Unsplash Do more things that make you happy that express who you are. Pick up a hobby you never thought you’d try. Be a better person today than you were yesterday. Think of this time at home not as an obstacle of where you would have been or what you would have been doing, but instead think of it as an opportunity to do all the things you haven’t had time to do, to better yourself, and to fully appreciate family. Most importantly, let’s stay positive and lift others up because we’re all in this together.