As we have all witnessed, these turbulent times brought forth by the onset of the novel coronavirus have led to significant changes in our lives. We went from enjoying social interactions, freely attending social events over the weekends, and generally having great times with our friends, to barely being able to step outside our own homes out of fear that we might become part of the daily stats that are given by the Ministry of Health.
These changes have been so consequential, they have also affected the school lives of not only me but millions of students around the world. Some haven’t, and perhaps will never get to truly experience the culmination of education for a high school student. Some will never get to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments along with their parents, teachers, and fellow students. Although most, I included, were fortunate enough to participate in some sort of makeup online graduation ceremony, majority will agree that it was a subpar substitute for the real deal. As though being denied graduation by the pandemic wasn’t cruel enough, some of us might not be attending university in-person this year. Currently, it seems like we might never free ourselves from the thralls of the coronavirus.
In these unprecedented times, feeling bad about the past doesn’t help to solve anything.
Okay, let’s pause from Corona for a minute, I can say I was one of probably thousands or millions of first-year university students who were looking forward to orientation week and making new friends. The adrenaline rush and anxiety of saying the right thing to create the perfect impression, the fear of rejection, not fitting in, or maybe even fitting into the wrong groups. It could have been quite the experience, one that I had been anticipating for approximately 547 days (yes, there had been a countdown). I can only imagine what it would have been like.
One of my personal habits that more than often works to my detriment is that I like to please people and while that’s fitting in a new environment, it sometimes means I create this impressionable persona that’s not a true reflection of who I am. I suppose we’ve all been in such situations, many times in an elevator pitch where you can only hope that the right side of the coin lands facing upwards by the end of the coin toss.
Now back to the elephant in the room, the pandemic. It has been a time of self-reflection and many, including myself, are now focusing on what character we would like to present after this and which is our best foot to put forward. It’s quite a challenge when we don’t really know what ‘new normal’ really means. Will we have to embody strength, courage, adaptability, unfamiliar compassion for some of us? So, what does this mean for me in my next steps?
Despite all that has happened during these past months, I can’t continue to allow it to harm my life and my mindset. The pandemic has left the world reeling and desperately searching for any sense of normalcy and with this comes new opportunities to thrive. I may not start university on campus but, this comes with the new experience of being part of the first cohort to start university online. Admittedly, while this may not be the most appealing introduction to such a vital chapter in my life, it’s quite extraordinary to begin this journey in a way nobody has ever done.
To conclude, I know I can’t reverse the flow of time. I can’t miraculously prevent the disease from infecting so many people worldwide and I definitely can’t forbid the virus from existing in the first place. What I can do is accept all that has happened, pray for the best, and move forward. In these unprecedented times, feeling bad about the past doesn’t help to solve anything. Instead, I chose to take this opportunity to find some good and look forward to what the future may hold. We all have to continue to strive for the best, despite the situations we might find ourselves in. Wouldn’t you agree?
Tamara Lugonzo- Communications Volunteer, ELF