As a senior who graduates in May, our very unusual circumstances at this point are obviously hitting me very hard. I’ve had many emotional breakdowns thinking about all of the lasts that I won’t be able to experience, and the worst part has been the not knowing when I left for spring break that my return to State College – the place that has become a home after 3.5+ years – would be uncertain. But despite the fact that this is a very emotional time, I have tried my best to consciously change my outlook and focus on the things that I am thankful for: the things that I have rather than the things that I miss. I want to make this blog post a refreshing list of things that I can think about rather than becoming upset every time I log onto Facebook and see another “Dear Seniors, I’m Sorry” shared article.
This may be a strange one to start out on, because I know a lot of people would opt for these circumstances to happen at a different time of year, but I’m trying to see the positives of the spring timing. It’s often sunny and the temperature is mild, meaning that I’m still able to go outside for walks, runs, and to play tennis. Even though I am not able to go to hometown friends’ houses (for very good reason), I have still been able to meet up with a couple of my friends in outdoor settings and catch up on life while maintaining that 6-foot social distance. If this were all happening during the dead of winter when the sky falls dark at 5:00 pm and the air is too cold for even a quick walk, I think my mood would be significantly worse.
Having a comfortable home
This is something that I cannot take for granted. A lot of people do not have the option to spend this time in a cozy and comfortable home with supportive family members who are fun to hang out with. One of my roommates at Penn State is from Panama, and she was literally not able to return to her home country because there is a travel ban in place. So, while I have people to keep me company and a cozy home to spend all of my time in, she must remain in State College uncertain of when she will be able to see her family again. I know that there are others in this situation, so I am grateful every day for the position that I am in and I will not take that for granted.
The health of my family members
Knock on wood! My family members remain happy and healthy. My grandparents are opting to stay inside so as not to put themselves at risk, and the rest of my family members are doing the same except when it is essential to run an errand. My dad is immunocompromised, so we have to take extra precaution in these trying times, but as of now, he is healthy. If the worst thing that we are feeling from this pandemic is stir crazy, then that in itself is something to be extremely thankful for.
Having my own room
A small one, but something to point out nonetheless. It’s been four years since I’ve had my own bedroom. I love my roommate to death, but you can’t argue that it’s nice sometimes to have a place all to yourself to spend time to yourself in. I have really been basking in this newfound ability to have guiltless alone time. At school, I always felt the need to get out and do things constantly whether it was socially or academically. These circumstances have almost forced me to relax and take time for myself, and I am grateful for the chance to take a step back and be selfish in my boringness.
Access to technology
This is a huge one. As annoying as online classes are, at least we have the option to do online classes and still get our degree. As much as I would love to spend time with my friends in person, at least we have the option to video chat and stay updated on each other’s lives. Technology allows us to do so many things that can make this crazy new life livable. I don’t know how I would stay sane without all of the Netflix that I’ve been watching!
The Great British Baking Show
Number one tip to stay positive in these times? Watch the Great British Baking Show. Need I say more?