My senior year in college was supposed to be filled with laughter, fun moments with my friends, and self discovery as I approach the time when I am supposed to finalize my career. I have always been one with a plan, but it is safe to say the things I have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic were certainly unexpected.
At the start of quarantine, I learned that two of my family members had this mysterious disease and the seriousness of that put a halt to our everyday lives. There was an unspoken panic, an elephant in the room that everyone avoided at all costs. For a while, I did everything in my power to avoid thinking about it and it only made my mental health worse.
I struggled to stay motivated to the point where it would take hours to push myself to complete an assignment. My head was full of thoughts and the anxiety was becoming worse than I had ever experienced.
I spent my nights waking up in cold sweat and not being able to fall asleep until the sun was practically rising. It was becoming harder to function as the pressures of online classes and failing friendships caused by my depression started to occur. However, even in this state, I still tried to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
I started going on daily walks because it made me feel productive, like I was doing something that matters. Slowly, my productivity returned, and I was able to submit assignments on time.
My walks were usually at night. I enjoyed the feeling of the crisp air and the moonlight on my skin. I enjoyed the scenery as it made me very tranquil. Those outings eased my soul and made me see that I wanted to add it into my routine long term.
Since then, I have been going on hikes and walks daily. I started eating right and trying to take care of myself the way I knew I always should and never had the motivation or patience to do.
I can feel a difference in my mental health. The days don’t seem as dark and long. I don’t have to fight to go to sleep or to get myself out of bed at a reasonable hour anymore.
I learned adaptability and that it is OK to not be OK, especially during a pandemic.
It was easy for me to fall into old unhealthy habits, and even easier for me to dig myself into a hole I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of.
The journey was learning not to be so hard on myself and to give myself a break from time to time. In the future, if and when I land my dream career, I can look back on this time in my life and know that if I can find a way to feel motivated and happy again during a time of uncertainty, I can accomplish anything.
Deja Goode, a senior journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.