Five Things I’ve Learned in the Last Five Months
ONE: Family is the most reliable part of 2020. At least in my experience, my family has been a constant in the chaos I’ve been faced with as a college student in a pandemic. With school ending abruptly, my summer plans being ruined, and losing the limited time I have at the University of Florida, my family has been there to talk me through it and give me hope. My mother and brother lost their jobs, but they would bring me coffee while studying to make me feel better. My father lost projects, but he would take me out fishing every weekend to make
me feel better about being home. The kindness and grace that my entire family has shown each other over the last five months have given me hope for my future in this changing world.
TWO: There is no perfect way to maintain mental health.
After changing scenery and being isolated from regular social interaction, I felt a noticeable decline in my mental health. I felt there was no point in my days and struggled to get out of bed. Once I noticed myself falling into that destructive pattern, I decided to give myself tasks to make myself feel productive. I got up, got dressed, and made a new breakfast for myself and my family every morning.
This gave my days meaningful activity again. I would look up recipes, plan them out for the week, and go grocery shopping for the new ingredients. After that, I started adding a new ten-minute work out every day. These small changes kept me busy and improved my mental health steadily. Staying healthy looks different for everyone, but over the last five months, I desperately wanted something to give me the feeling of being on my own and busy. I found ways to recreate my normal safely, and it was exactly what my brain needed.
THREE: Appreciating my health.
Even with my mental health having ups and downs, I have been able to remain physically
healthy for the past five months. I haven’t been sick in any way and luckily neither has anyone in my family. We also have been able to keep ourselves healthy by going on daily walks and trying to eat as healthy as possible. Being healthy is something that I am extremely thankful for, especially over the last five months. I wake up every day grateful that I can walk into the kitchen and start my day. With all that is going on in the world, I am understanding how much of a blessing that simple fact is, and I don’t want to take that for granted from now on.
FOUR: The value of friendship.
Good friends are a privilege that I am so lucky to have. Not being able to see my friends every day in person was a huge adjustment, but they made it better through weekly zoom calls and constant texting. We continuously checked on each other and made sure to support each other through our individual journeys. I love getting the weekly check-ins from my roommates and Phi Mu sisters, ensuring that everyone still doing well and relaying the new things that happened in our lives. These interactions were something that I looked forward to and have given me a reason to seek out opportunities and new activities; that way I have something exciting to share with my friends.
FIVE: It will get better.
Finally, the last five months have taught me that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Things will get better. It may take longer than we’d like, but what is meant to happen will happen. That includes being able to cheer on the gators and sit with my sisters at lunch again. Every hurdle we have faced over the last five months, we have come out on the other side with more knowledge and a different perspective. Learning is hard sometimes, but we are all better for it. So have hope for a better tomorrow, because it is coming soon enough. ⭑