Today, I am living in a world that has changed drastically in so little time. Colleges and schools have shut down, restaurants are reduced to take-out orders only, and the world is left with so many unanswered questions. Within the last few weeks I have watched the COVID-19 pandemic flip my world in ways I never thought were possible.
In response to the pandemic, which was ill prepared for, government officials have begun to take drastic measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. These actions have had significant impacts on all Americans, but especially young adults. Many college seniors are facing the loss of graduation as well as their final season of athletics, internships and study-abroad programs; many are out of work, and countless more are being separated from people and places that they love. Although these measures are necessary to slow down the spread of the virus and save lives, they undoubtedly leave many people feeling lost and isolated.
We cannot ignore the negatives facing us during this time. As a college student myself, this time has been nothing close to easy. I was forced to leave my college, St. John Fisher, as well as my friends, professors, and cross-country team. I lost my outdoor season and a potential conference championship title; a season I was ready to give my all in. There is no way to reclaim the opportunities and memories I will be missing out on. What affects me the most is having an abrupt end to my college freshman experience, something I can never get back.
Despite all of these disappointments, I feel extremely blessed. In particular, I feel blessed to have my health—something many of us previously may have taken for granted. But more than anything I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing community. I remember a time, while still on campus, that my service dog was being delivered and I was meeting him for the first time. My friends, teammates, and community at Fisher all rallied to make this moment special. This same feeling of support and family has been continued even while being at home. Fisher has been doing everything it can to ensure we not only get through these times, but get through them together. To me, that is something special. I am proud to be part of the Fisher family.
In a time when we might feel more isolated than ever, we are much closer than we think. There is so much value to be found in changing our perspective and being willing to see the other side, exploring the positives. Doing this allows us to endure the situation and gives us the opportunity to grow as individuals. I want to shed light on some perspective I have learned through living in this life-altering event.
The world is coming together, to solve a common problem. We are at a time of peace and unification. People are reaching out to those who they haven’t talked to in a while, restoring relationships. People are devoting this time to bettering themselves both mentally and physically. We are seeing numerous acts of kindness. My time at home has given me the opportunity to devote myself to training for a promising cross-country season and to my academics. But most of all, it has given me a chance to grow. In both myself and my appreciation for everything I have, including my health.
We have all heard the phrase, “You have so many open doors,” or its counterpart, “I am faced with so many closed doors.” I believe this analogy applies perfectly to these circumstances. In times like this, we are faced with so many doors. Our mindset—how we approach this new world—will determine if they are opened or closed for us.
Alyson Witt is a freshman and a nursing major at St. John Fisher College. All Rochester Beacon coronavirus articles are collected here.