Looking for the Silver Linings

Despite the hardships and disappointments of COVID-19 the past year, students have found moments of things to be thankful for. These silver linings can carry over into our lives post-COVID as we start to see that future coming around the corner.

For some students, the past year of pandemic life was their first glimpse of the college experience, while for others, it was the final one. 

While the year has been challenging, this time of isolation and feeling of uncertainty had many people discovering new things to appreciate about their surroundings, about their loved ones and most importantly, about themselves.

(1) Jessie Patterson, third-year political science and sustainability student

What I’ve come to appreciate is family and friends. My mom was stuck overseas for five months in another country during the pandemic and wasn’t able to get back into the U.S. 

I realized I took advantage of having her around and didn’t realize how much she did for our family and to have her not be here for a long time was really hard. So I’ve learned it’s those little things that you get to appreciate about people and same with friends, relying on them for social interaction even if it’s over Zoom has been really huge.

(2) Leah Venkatesan, third-year environmental sciences student

I appreciated being by myself a lot more. I’ve really been able to do more on my own, I’ve been doing a lot more art and that’s been really fun. Getting to learn more about who I am is really cool.

(3) Megan Baus, second-year chemical engineering and ecological engineering student

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have come to really appreciate the technology I have access to, and the ways it has allowed me to stay connected to family and friends when I can’t see them in person. 

Additionally, I appreciate my peers and the communities we’ve formed through Discord and other sites that have allowed us to help navigate online courses together. I also really appreciate my peers that turn their cameras on when their pets are in the room.

(4) Kira Kilstorm, second-year environmental sciences student

What I’ve come to appreciate more is the ability to bond with people around the world over video games, because that’s something that I picked up during the pandemic.

(5) Alexander Perigon, senior environmental sciences and geography and geospatial sciences student

I’ve come to appreciate houseplants more, because I love having them and having them keep me company, and it seems like a source of bonding with other people over Zoom. Everybody’s talking about plants and happy to share their plants, so I’m just appreciating them all that much more. 

(6) Amanda Front, second-year liberal studies student with minors in leadership and studio art

The pandemic has given me time with myself that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I have really learned what self care means to me and the kinds of people I want to surround myself with. I have been able to really develop my sense of self in a deeper and different way.

(7) Jess Bradley, third-year environmental economics and policy student

Something I’ve really come to appreciate is just having different hobbies. I feel like I’ve gotten the confidence over this pandemic to just try new things because why not? I’m stuck at home, if it goes poorly, it goes poorly just in my own house. So that’s been a lot of fun, I’ve picked up new hobbies and met a lot of new people online doing that. 

(8) Jay Liang, third-year mechanical engineering student

One thing I appreciate is being able to reflect on myself. I always felt so pressured over classes, tests and other things, but the pandemic made me realize that I need to explore and go outside, take a breather for once.

(9) Callie Steed, second-year environmental sciences student

I’ve learned to appreciate working out more, because I worked out pretty consistently pre-pandemic but with the gyms being closed on and off throughout the pandemic it ruined your routine. You had to be creative in finding ways to work out at home. 

I struggled with it a lot during the first part of the pandemic but after I found a routine that worked it really helped me feel like I gained some more control over my life since the pandemic had altered a lot of my plans. Now, if I don’t feel like going to the gym today, whatever, I can just do a home workout, it’s no problem. Working out is important for your mental and physical health so finding some routines that work for you for both your home and the gym is advantageous.

(10) Katie Papineau, second-year environmental engineering student 

I have come to appreciate how easy game nights have become! No one has to drive anywhere or buy snacks because we can just set up a Zoom meeting or hop in a Discord voice channel, and people can come and go as they please! Lots of free online games to play, and we all have a good time connecting with one another regardless of where in the world we are.