Austin Stockton ‘24

I don’t think there is a single person in this world who hasn’t lost anything within the pandemic. That’s not to say that there isn’t anyone who gained anything from the pandemic. I know I sure have, and you probably have too. But I think that’s what we’re focusing on too much; the negatives. As crazy as this might seem to you, I think about the positives of this pandemic. Now, I’m not trying to be disrespectful to those who’ve had the hardest times of their lives because of the pandemic. I’m just trying to give my advice and the lessons that I’ve learned from the pandemic.

For me, the biggest thing that I learned is that this has been the best time for me to grow up as an adult. By the time the pandemic started, I had been an adult for only 4 months and I was just starting to feel the freedom that comes with that. Ever since the pandemic started, however, I really haven’t felt like an adult. Still to this day, it blows my mind that I can legally buy lottery tickets. Even though I may not feel like an adult, I know what my responsibilities are and how I should continue handling my responsibilities. Becoming an adult during the pandemic has shown that it’s OK to still feel young, even if you’re 20 years old.

The other thing that I learned during the pandemic is that now is the perfect time to find yourself and what you want to be. Since a lot of people were given so much free time because of this pandemic, it has been nice to spend time for yourself. Take the time to find what’s important and valuable to you, what you want your future to be, and what will make you happy. I’m not saying you should only think about yourself. You should totally help others when they need it, but it’s also important to help yourself every now and then. For me, I thought about how I can help people as a job. Whether that’s by becoming a teacher, a psychiatrist, a chef, or any number of professions, I found that I wanted to be a role model for others.

The last thing that I learned from this pandemic is that motivation is key to getting things done. For years, mental health has been a big concern, and mental health issues have only gotten worse during the pandemic. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had rough days in this pandemic. At the start, I thought that it wouldn’t last long, but when more and more stuff got cancelled, I got sadder and sadder. I was already wanting to be done with high school by the time February came around, so I wasn’t really motivated to do anything, but this pandemic may have gotten the best of me at the beginning, but I didn’t give up. Since seniors didn’t have to complete high school because of the pandemic, I thought that I could’ve just taken the easy way out, but I changed my mind quickly. I buckled down and completed all of my classes. Motivation is what got me to do that. But alas, that same motivation comes and goes. Even now, I still struggle with some things, but that doesn’t mean I should give up.

Brothers, I know that we’re a long way from this pandemic being over. I know to some it may seem like we’re at the end now, but the aftermath of this will only be longer. But no matter what issues you face in the future, you might think of the negatives at first, but there will always be time to think of the positives and what you could learn from those issues.