2020 arrived with all the promise of a New Year.. a fresh start, a time to make your life better.. who would have thought that a short 2 1/2 months later, we would be in this position.

This is a situation that hasn’t happened in recent memory.  A pandemic.. a disease that has effect every part of the world and is spreading rapidly. Countries completely shut down, daily updates of numbers of people infected, number of deaths.. Governors shutting down their states, issuing shelter in place directives. It is all very bewildering.  Plus with things changing so rapidly you have no idea what’s going to happen in the morning when you wake up..

In the midst of all of this are students who are trying to get an education.. from Kindergarten up through College, students are having to learn a new way of learning.  Schools have switched to online platforms with most of the teachers and professors trying to figure it out as they go. This is very stressful on the students as well as the teachers.  The teachers just want to give the best education that they possibly can.

I am a college student.  My college switched to an online platform right after our spring break.  Our campus was still open, with many kids returning from spring break to either grab books and equipment needed to continue school at home or to go some place off campus so that they would be local when the all clear was given to return to business as usual. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. So in the midst of trying to switch to online classes, we were given the order to move out.  Our year on campus has abruptly ended, without any kind of closure. No time to say goodbye to our friends, no time to hear all about spring break. Performances are cancelled, even graduation has been cancelled which is absolutely devastating to the seniors who have put in 16 years of school to get to this day.

However, it’s not as bleak as it seems to be. When we get beyond this, we will be better for it. We have learned to adapt, we have learned how to deal with stress and how to figure out a lot on our own. I had to move my stuff out on my own, my parents couldn’t come down to help. My mom has an auto immune disease, my dad works for a company that makes medical equipment.  So they did what they could for me at home, by renting me a storage unit, helping me pack up everything virtually and just being there when I got too stressed.. but this situation proved to me, that I can do things I never thought I would have to deal with all at the same time, on my own. I am actually quite proud. We have also learned what is important to us. Social distancing has made me realize the importance of having friends and family around, even if it just a phone call, text message or a Face Time call.. and when this ban of gatherings is lifted, there is going to be one heck of a world party.. I take heart in the singing in Italy, of the artists who are selflessly sharing their talents by offering free online classes, the restaurants that are forced to close that are cooking up all their food and offering it to people in need… the community that got together by where I live to take care of a family that was quarantined, making sure that they never missed a meal.. all of this restores my faith in humanity and proves that we CAN be a kind and gentle people.. That we DO care and we can rely on each other in times of need.   If we look at this time as a time to pause, as a time to reflect, as a time to pursue hobbies and interests that we had at one time that have taken a back seat, a time to read more, to communicate more,  to be present..  it is time well spent.  May we never take for granted the ability to go to work, to go to school, to go to the beach.. May we learn to treasure laughter around the dining room table, to hold those we love dear and make sure we have the time for even a quick phone call, just to say hi, I am thinking about you… It is time to understand what is important and what we can let go..

So use this time wisely.. Read that novel you have on your bedside table, pick up that knitting that you put away.  Write that play you were always meaning to write, hone your musical skills that have fallen by the wayside.  Dance.  Sing.  And never let a day go by without telling those that you love, how important they are to you..

As my mom likes to say, This too, shall pass..