Perseverance in the face of a pandemic


Noah Wilbur | Opinions Editor

As we all brace and continue to mask ourselves for the daily hurdles of life, what occupies your attention throughout the day may be quite different than what you were preoccupied with in September of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic shook all Americans to their core as everyday routines were abruptly changed around the country.

This brought forth the need for people to look intrinsically and adapt in order to better understand themselves in the midst of these harsh realities and societal challenges. The lockdown humbled many of us. It pushed those who wanted to strive towards self-sufficiency to do so in an independent way.

For those who wanted to work on their physique, the gyms became unavailable which led to a need to discover other alternatives. Those who wanted to continue practicing mindfulness to nourish the mind, body, and soul had to also do so in creative ways.

From ordering dumbbells online and working out in the garage, to virtual yoga classes and scheduled meditation times, there is overwhelming evidence that Americans rose to the challenge even as the world crumbled around them.

Although this may be true, I continue to hear chatter from those around me — family, friends, and constituents — that the pandemic has had such a dreadful and life changing impact on their lives. I would like to shine the light on an alternate perspective of COVID-19 — one that most appear to be overlooking.

Fisk Lee, a senior psychology and international relations double-major at Duquesne, spoke candidly about his time exploring both his mental and physical development over the course of this global pandemic. “The pandemic, for myself, habituated a lot of the past that I never took the time to address… like time had a chance to catch up to me. I felt like I was able to find more time with family. The pandemic taught me that life is both finite but very long.”

Additionally, when asked how he felt growth in the past 12 months, senior pharmacy student Joe Chen said, “A big thing is learning how to be more comfortable with yourself… spending alone time.”

In other words, the benefits of learning how to adapt on the fly while moving forward with life even during the most tumultuous of times is actually proving to be beneficial in the long-term, as it allows one to become better acquainted with his or her inner self.

There is no questioning that this pandemic affected some of us far worse than others. Many of us know of a friend or family member who lost someone close to them over the course of this unprecedented time. However, acknowledging all of the grief and tumultuousness of these past 12-months-or-so, the drastic changes to each of our personal little worlds can be seen through a lens of appreciation.

Admittedly, I am indeed attempting to breed some optimism as, quite frankly, I’ve grown tired of the negativity among my peers on how the pandemic has devastated life as we know it. Don’t get me wrong, the health and social challenges related to COVID-19 are widely-prevalent and should not be taken lightly. I’m in no way undermining the serious implications of the pandemic on our global society.

That being said, I am also of the opinion that we must embrace change with a positive mindset and excessive enthusiasm. If we fail to do so, then we will surely live a life of fear and misery. It is time to acknowledge that humankind has been prevailing since our inception. We must not be bound down by our current predicament but rather adapt to the change while lifting up others. Negativity is not the answer.