By: Mint Suetrong, Contributing Writer
2020 was nothing like we expected. Even now, in 2021, one full year after the initial spread of COVID-19, the situation is still quite uncertain. Many changes have been undertaken and many more are still waiting for us moving forward. Here are some of the lessons that COVID-19 has taught us. Thank you to everyone for their genuine contributions.
I learned how to take better care of myself.
Be grateful for even the smallest things in life.
Time is the most precious thing on Earth and it is important to spend it wisely.
Nothing lasts forever. Everything shall pass and it will get better.
Never take anything for granted.
No matter what happens, you’re always good enough as you are.
We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what can be done in a year
The art of active procrastination. Productivity does not only mean getting school work done.
Self-dependence: learn how to create your own happiness.
Life is short so it’s important to not overthink things too much.
Appreciate the sun.
How important it is to be adaptive and just go with the flow.
Make the most of the time that you have.
Stock up on toilet paper when you sense an impending pandemic. That creation is gold.
Don’t skip Zoom.
Social responsibility is crucial. Please just wear the mask properly.
With my parents’ financial stability and the fact that the pandemic was far less severe in Thailand compared to other parts of the world, I was fortunate enough not to be significantly affected by COVID-19. While I did have my fair share of panic attacks along the way, being surrounded by such kind, loving and supportive people definitely made the experience much more pleasant. As silly as it sounds, the pandemic taught me how to breathe. By that I mean to truly experience the moment that you are currently living in; to really take life day-by-day and find solace in the unpredictable future.
If I had to choose a way to depict the lockdown, it would be this: “Initially, you think you’ll be stuck at home for two weeks and then school will reopen. The next thing you know, it’s already March 2021, one whole year later, and that you are so incredibly wrong.” You come painfully close to losing your grasp on life: time becomes nothing but a social construct. Individual days seem long but weeks pass by in a heartbeat.
While most of the replies that I received were positive, it would be a lie to say that there weren’t any negative ones as well. “Life is boring,” one wrote, and while it saddens me to say that there were moments during the lockdown where I could definitely relate to that, it is also reassuring that I am not alone in this journey. As the reality of online school began to settle in, I was slowly but surely getting lured into its wrath like a moth drawn to a flame. I had felt overwhelmed to the point where I went numb for a bit of time. In that moment, I understood why some people self-harmed: it’s the desperation to feel something, anything, even if it was that of pain.
There is no denying that this pandemic took a toll on my mental health; the lows were some of the hardest times that I have ever experienced in my life. Still, I am grateful for those difficulties, as they allowed me to grow tremendously. COVID gave me an opportunity to indulge in art projects, reflect on myself and my values, and last but not least, find coping mechanisms which were more suitable and productive than stress-crying night after night and exercising vigorously which inevitably resulted in a shoulder blade injury that I am currently still recovering from. There was one afternoon in particular that I vividly remember myself spontaneously opening a Google Docs and pouring out reasons why I wanted to pursue medicine and what kind of doctor, and person, I wanted to grow to be. It was liberating.
It’s in these life crises where the true essence of life is encapsulated, and it’s because of the pandemic that has taught me to embrace this beauty, no matter how vulnerable it makes me feel.
Thank you, COVID, for this one madness of a ride, but please, just let me graduate normally.
Link to cover image: https://pin.it/1WVRU4l