On March 16th, I flew home from DC. The weekend proceeding this flight was filled with uncertainty. I was forced to pack up my entire life at Howard, say goodbye to my friends and girlfriend, and leave the city without any knowledge of when I would return. Many of my friends were not so fortunate. They didn’t have the money or resources to move completely, so their things were left behind. Some had no way of getting home, and others still didn’t have a safe home to return to. Since then, the world has watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold. Stay at home orders have been put in place and lifted. We’ve watched the President give the public false information and false hope.
But during that time, life has continued on. Last month, I signed the lease for my first apartment. My classes continued and ended. I celebrated my 21st birthday. My sister is graduating from high school, and we had a drive-by party for her. I became president of Howard University’s CASCADE, the oldest LGBTQ student organization at any HBCU. While the world may be forever changed by this pandemic, humanity has always been able to adapt. During the last two months, it’s been easy to focus on the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the incompetence of government leadership, and missed experiences. However, it’s important to focus on the good and the ways we have managed to make the best out of a terrible situation.
While at home, millions of people have picked up new hobbies and worked on ways to help those in need. There are stories on neighbors buying groceries for the elderly and sick. People have been painting, drawing, making music, dancing, and growing closer. My sister and I started painting together. Though neither of us are Van Gogh, it’s a way for us to grow closer and have something to do. I picked up my violin again and sent my Nana a video for Mother’s Day. My friends threw me a surprise Zoom party for my birthday, and we’ve been keeping up with each other using Zoom, Skype, and Google meetings. And in between, I’ve been playing a lot of Sims 4, and I’ve been using it to build some fun houses, like a floating cottage.
The world will never be the same when we come out of this pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, some businesses will be closed forever, and those that have recovered may never breathe the same way. However, the only way humanity will survive is through kindness, empathy, and creativity. These are the hallmarks of the human spirit. These are the tools that allowed us to harness fire and build civilizations. We adapt and hope, and life goes on.