By Madison Thomas
The start of a new year always seems to be filled with so much hope and positivity. It is a new chapter in your life’s story and anything can happen.
The idea of the year 2020 was so exciting to me, it was not just the beginning of a new year, but an entire decade.
This is the decade I expect to graduate from college, begin my career, and hopefully, get married and start a family.
Since I was so excited about the new year, I decided to host a Roaring 20s themed New Year’s Party at my house. All of my friends dressed as if they were attending a party thrown by Jay Gatsby. The night was filled with laughter and a sense of optimism for what was to come.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am sitting in class learning about a virus with no found cure that is quickly spreading in China.
I read articles about it every day in The New York Times, but never once did it cross my mind that this virus would affect my own life.
Then cases in the U.S. began to be confirmed, but even then I was still not very concerned.
In March I traveled to southern California to spend my spring break; it was there where I was first affected by the very thing I thought would never touch my life.
I was standing in line for a ride at Disneyland when I received an email from ASU stating classes would be taught virtually for the next two weeks due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
At that moment I was in complete shock, but I was at the “happiest place on Earth” so I told myself to worry about it later.
That night I began to process what was really happening and a sense of fear kicked in, but I quickly pushed those thoughts out of my mind and enjoyed my last days of normalcy.
Immediately after returning to Phoenix, I made the trip to my hometown with two weeks’ worth of clothes because I still genuinely believed I would be returning in 14 short days.
And then finally the true reality of what was happening in the world hit me hard.
I realized it was only a matter of time before ASU announced that classes would continue online for the remainder of the semester. I had a multitude of different emotions and thoughts running through me, I could not believe this was actually happening.
While I was at ASU I was the happiest I had ever been and the thought of having to stay in my hometown until August pained me.
However, the thing that was the hardest for me was not being able to say good-bye to the people who had become my second family over the course of the past several months.
I spent the next few days angry at the world and feeling sorry for myself that my freshman year had been cut short.
But I knew I had a choice to make, I could either continue on with my negative attitude or try to make the best of this situation.
I reminded myself of my personal mantra, “See the good. Be the good.”
I know it may not seem that there can possibly be any good right now especially when the unemployment rate is rapidly growing, thousands of people are losing their lives, and everyday things have been banned. But when so much is going wrong, even the smallest of positive things are important to recognize.
During this time I rediscovered my love for working out. I began doing yoga regularly and my daily hikes became the highlight of my days.
I have been able to watch plenty of movies and documentaries and I had not made the time to previously watch and also discover new music.
Most importantly, I have been able to work on and improve myself.
Being in quarantine for almost two months has obviously forced me to spend a lot of time by myself and because of that I have gotten to know myself better and remind myself of the person I want to continue becoming.
While it is certainly under the worst of circumstances, I can say without a doubt that this time has proved to be beneficial to me growing as a person.
I want to acknowledge that this is a difficult time for everyone, but I want to remind you all that there is not only a beaming light at the end of the tunnel, but there are also glimmers of it right now if you look hard enough.
While none of us are together physically, we are still all in this together. Keep pushing through, you got this!