February 2020 marked the last month of the year with any sense of normalcy.
I recall receiving emails in early February from my International Health professor about a novel virus spreading through China.
By the end of February, the United States was beginning to tally coronavirus case counts.
And we all know how March went.
If you would have sat me down in February of 2020 and told me that in a mere matter of weeks businesses would shut down, schools would shut down, groceries and toiletries would be difficult to find, masks would be mandated, flights canceled and countless jobs lost, I truly do not think I would have believed you.
I have 5 young children and at the time of the lockdown last Spring, my husband and I went into survival mode. He began working from home, I woke up early to do schoolwork and stayed up late. I knew if they were cooped up in the house all day, we might not make it to 2021, so I took them on daily (freezing) walks and bike rides. We ate lunch in the yard, played tag in the yard, my husband took them to random parking lots with Wendy’s and watched movies in our minivan, and I think we got Dairy Queen every afternoon for weeks. We were in an unprecedented situation and had to get creative.
When I scroll through memories now on my social media pages I feel my life is divided into two parts: before COVID and after COVID.
Yet, here we are a year later, and somehow we have all made it. Life is not back to normal, by any means, most of our classes as SRU students are still online, I still can’t go to a musical theater production or an outdoor concert, and I am still facing a sea of only eyeballs when I go to the grocery store.
But, there is hope.
If 2020 taught me anything, it is that we are an adaptive species. When faced with adversity we have the ability to overcome it, and we have.
I am sure if someone had told many of you, as students, that your college experience (at least several semesters of it) would be online, that you may not be able to live on campus, that the events and activities that you had so been looking forward to would be all but a pipe dream, you probably would have thought that you simply couldn’t do it.
But, you would have been wrong.
You are doing it, I am doing it. We all are doing it.
The next 11 months will (hopefully) lead us to a sense of normalcy, but we will forever be changed by these events.
Today I am proud of my family, I am proud of my community and I am proud of my fellow students that have made their way through the trenches and have hopefully come out of this as better, wiser and more confident members of our society.
Here’s to a successful Spring semester, and the hope that soon we will all be together again very soon.
You got this.