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Staying positive despite the coronavirus

Dec 2, 2020 2:12 PM

Photo Essays

It’s no understatement to say that 2020 has been an unprecedented year. If someone told me 12 months ago that the whole world would be under lockdown and that I would spend my freshman spring term and the following fall learning virtually at home, I would have laughed. It was unthinkable to me that school could exist in any way other than in the building. Back then, I had never even heard of Zoom.

But despite the challenges we’ve all faced — whether it’s the fatigue of sitting in front of a computer screen all day, the inability to see friends or maybe even the loss of a loved one — there have been positive results of the lockdown if you look for them.

I was an avid reader when I was younger, but upon entering seventh grade, I felt guilty whenever I opened a book that wasn’t for school. I had less and less time to read, and even when I did, I felt like I couldn’t. There were always homework assignments that I could start early, or quizzes weeks away that I could prepare for. My months in quarantine gave me ample time to read, and I am very grateful. Reading also lets me explore other subjects that I’m interested in, such as music, art, and film.

I had always wanted to keep a diary but would continually forget to. The pandemic pushed me to write every day, partly because I realized that I was living through history and partly because I wanted something to do. In July, I filled a journal for the first time. My entries have become shorter since school started, but every night I still jot down the main events of that day and a couple of things that I’m thankful for.

Since March, I have seen an unhealthy amount of movies. Watching them was a relaxing way to unwind at the end of the day, and it often led to stimulating discussions with my family members. Beyond entertainment, I gained a deeper interest in film history and film production. Although movies played a large role in my life before the Coronavirus, it was only after I had time to expose myself to so many different kinds of movies that I considered seriously studying film.

I attended a program that taught me the Arabic language and customs in the Greater Middle East during the summer before my freshman year. Before buildings closed in March, I borrowed books and CDs consisting of lessons in Arabic from the library. Every day since then, I would spend thirty minutes before school studying Arabic. Right now I am taking weekly Arabic classes, which I would never have had time for if school took place in person.

I wish I were with my crew team rowing on the Charles River, but I am not due to the Coronavirus. However I now jog every day around Jamaica Pond, a feat that I would normally only accomplish a couple of times a year. As I am not a runner, the 1.5-mile path was once seemingly endless. Now, completing it is just part of my daily routine to take a break from the screen and get some fresh air.

My family and I hiked almost every week over the summer, which was a pleasant chance for me to appreciate nature and wildlife. We would see colorful birds, funny-looking mammals, and beautiful forests right here in Massachusetts. I even kept a pad of paper for sketches of plants, although I am still not even mediocre at drawing. There is less time for hiking now, but I enjoy looking at the autumn leaves and the sparkling pond whenever I jog.

Most importantly, the lockdown has given me time to bond with my family. My sister and brother came home from college, and we spent the summer together taking trips and playing games. I also saw my dad more, who is usually never home during the day. This year was bittersweet for me, since next year all of my siblings will be at college. 2020 is the last full year when at least one of my three siblings will be around. However, the house won’t be lonely with my parents around!