In the spring semester of 2020, students went on spring break and didn’t return to campus for what felt like an eternity, but many of us have changed for the better.  

Since March 2020, society has experienced so many trials we have consequently shifted the way we see life. I know the freshman girl who moved out of her dorm during quarantine is not the same woman writing this story today. 

The truth is that quarantine and the year following it has changed us all. I didn’t dye my hair or change my image, but I realized what is truly important to me. 

Over quarantine, I sat at home finishing out the semester online and passing my classes with flying colors. Though I was achieving success, it was less special because I wasn’t surrounded by my friends and celebrating the end of the semester. Instead, I was stuck in my childhood bedroom for a few more months in the hopes that I would return to campus for the fall semester. 

One major thing this past year has taught me is that school is not everything. As someone who has always thrived from academic validation, this was an extremely hard realization. 

I know when I look back on this time in my life, I will certainly not remember the assignment I stayed up until 1:00 AM working on-- but I will remember staying up late and going to Cookout with my friends or skipping my Friday classes to go on a weekend trip. 

This doesn’t mean I have stopped caring about my education, because that is far from the truth, but it means that I have a newfound appreciation for my social life. At the end of the day, school is still just as important as it was before quarantine, but creating memories with the people I love is more valuable in the grand scheme of life.

Another breakthrough I’ve experienced since quarantine is the realization that I am eager to try new things and pick up old hobbies again. I played guitar every day growing up, but over time I lost my love for it.

Quarantine showed me that life is too short to give up on things that bring me joy and my love for guitar has been reignited. I have also gained the confidence to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. 

Life as we knew it was shattered in March 2020, which was extremely hard for most people. Looking back, though, so many people were able to rebuild their lives with a newfound respect for their free time and prioritize what is truly important to them.

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