Have you learned anything about yourself or the world this semester?
Over the last semester, I have learned many things about myself. I have learned what my strengths and weaknesses are and how to deal with them.
All the things that have been going on in the world have influenced and shaped my personality. I see things differently now. The truth is, life can be difficult and challenging. No one signed up for this. But who we become because of it is priceless if a positive mind is attached to it.
I have learned that resilience is the key, and it isn’t worth worrying about the things that I have no control over. So I focus more on what can be improved or achieved.
I have also learned that taking care of myself is vital. We cannot hug our friends or family members, have lunches, and spend time with them right now. This semester, I have become my own cheerleader, the best person to believe in who I am and how capable I am.
What were some of the greatest challenges/roadblocks you faced this semester and how did you overcome them?
Perhaps the scariest thing about COVID-19 is the uncertainty. No matter how many sources we search, experts we listen to, or emails we read, it seems no one knows the answers to the most pressing questions.
In a world where university students can easily find answers to their questions, we have somehow lost that control now. One of the biggest challenges was looking beyond this uncertainty to direct my energy for something in my control.
I started assuring myself that everything will be fine and we are going to get over this soon. Meditation has definitely helped me to stay focused and worry less about the future.
The other challenges were trying to stay disciplined with the classes’ schedule and getting comfortable with new team members. I followed my planner diligently and focused as I would have in an in-person course.
Also, there were some students who I never met and worked with before. I decided to take time during the weekends to indulge in casual talks and play some online games to get to know them better. I am pleased that I have made some incredible friends and learned from them even in a time of physical distancing.
Were there any self-revelations you experienced this semester?
During an online trivia game that one of the DeGroote’s clubs organized this semester, I teamed up with my friends to play the song “Don’t worry, be happy.” When we started playing together, the entire Zoom room filled with laughter, music, and joy.
No one seemed to have a care in the world. Not one person seemed down or stressed. It was an atmosphere of happiness that I experienced after months of isolation. So, what caused that contagious happiness? The laughter and music? I am not sure. However, that event taught me that we need to let loose sometimes, despite the worries and difficulties we may have.
I believe I have learned how to forget about my problems sometimes and enjoy myself. Otherwise, what is the point? Throughout our lives, we all experience many moments that transform us; these moments, good or bad, make us who we are today.
What have you been grateful for during these times?
The pandemic has profoundly limited the diversity in our lives. It means we are cooking at home day-after-day, instead of getting out to eat at restaurants or having potlucks at our friends’ homes. It means we are home alone or seeing the same people every day, in the same house, day in and out.
While this time is stressful, it has allowed us to embrace the things we typically take for granted. I am so grateful for the extra time that I have to learn new skills, focus on my health, pick up new hobbies, join new online communities, and talk to my family and friends.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to slow down and be more thoughtful in my work and personal life. I have looked back at my calendar and reconnected with people I have met over the last year. The result has brought me incredible joy and energy and led to thought-provoking conversations.
My evening walk has become a part of my routine, and I am so grateful to get outside! The cool air and quiet help me to process my thoughts and keep healthy.
Is there any show or hobby that has “helped you through this semester”?
I recommend The Queen’s Gambit, a TV series that I recently binge-watched on Netflix. This show made me realize that my dreams are worth reaching for, no matter the circumstances. I wish I could erase my memory and watch it all over again.
The hobby that I picked up during this semester is baking. After getting inspired by one of my mentors, I decided to bake cookies for the first time. I began with the recipe shared by my best friend, who taught me the art of baking, and I hope to continue it.