By Queens College Library Ambassador
As basic as it sounds, I believe it is important to stay positive. As the Spring semester of 2020 arrived, I decided to take a break from school because of family and health-related matters. Initially, I felt guilty and ashamed that I did not feel it was a priority to complete school at that moment. However, when the pandemic hit, I felt relieved that I did not have to adjust to such a drastic change in my learning environment. Instead, I felt that switching to remote learning so abruptly would have negatively affected my grades. I was thankful that I did not have to adjust to the class style change mid-semester. However, the pandemic, along with my semester-long break, allowed me to create drastic changes in myself.
I strived to reach the goal to be “put together” and “well-rounded.” I was always searching for the reason why I was never satisfied with myself. Was it because I did not follow the typical life plan that many parents expect out of their children? Was it the amount that I have and/or have not achieved? Was it more personal, such as my self-confidence? I strived to be someone I was proud of, yet I did not know how to go about it. Just like many other problems, I began problem-solving by identifying the issues that really held value for me. The time I had allowed during this pandemic gave me the opportunity to learn that such things as success and confidence cannot be quantified and should not define who I am. What is important is to be someone that you are proud of. To be “put together” and “well-rounded” means to prioritize your own morals and values and focus on what makes you happy and at peace.
My disappointment in myself and, surprisingly, the pandemic pushed me not only to strive to graduate but mature in the mind, body, and soul. During my break, I lost a significant amount of weight to tackle my journey to success in becoming physically healthy. Of course, my weight loss was an accomplishment, but there was much more than that. I developed the ability to be compassionate on a deeper level due to this pandemic. I find it an accomplishment that I value my self-worth by allowing myself to step back and think of my well-being rather than to graduate just to graduate. I understand that everything really has a deeper meaning. During this pandemic, I can see the world from a different perspective where, frankly, I believe I would have never had an opportunity to experience without the pandemic.
Although the pandemic has led to a significant number of deaths, I feel it is important to use the opportunity to turn it around and make the best of it, whether it is personal goals or fighting for what you believe in on a much larger scale. I strive to continue learning new ways to expect more out of myself and to one day contribute back to society.
When the Summer of 2020 arrived, I was able to adjust to the new school style. I am sure the transition to online courses with just one class in the summer was smoother than it was for the students in the previous semester. For the coming semesters, I expect online learning to be a standard way of learning. I believe an in-person school setting is most ideal. However, I think it is just as important for the educational system to use this opportunity to find new ways to assist students in learning.
I feel CUNY is doing a great job providing students with the resources they need to succeed. However, improvements can always be made no matter how satisfied I am with CUNY’s response to the pandemic. One area of improvement can be finding an ideal platform for lectures. My classes have been very back and forth where some platforms are more ideal to me than others.
My advice to everyone is to reevaluate your situation and find positivity out of it to grow as a person.