I Survived A Pandemic and Graduated in the Process – Natalia Garcia

by Natalia Garcia

What day is it? Do I have a Zoom meeting today? Did I already finish this new Netflix show? Should I wear something else besides pajama pants? Have I already finish all my snacks? These were just a few of the questions that have been constantly running through my mind the last couple of days, weeks… months actually. To be honest, this experience has been extremely interesting, to say the least. After many waves of motivation and laziness that constantly cycle each other, I have learned some lessons that I think will forever nourish my life in the future. The obvious one is to live your life as if the next day you will be trapped at home.

I remember my last day of school as if I was currently living through it. I had not gone to my first two classes of the day because I had spent most of the night before studying for a history test. Oh boy, if I had known that that day was going to be the last time I would see my classmates and beloved teachers I probably would have not rushed through the hallways or hurried my way home at the end of the day like I usually did. I would have spent a few more seconds wishing my teachers a good weekend, or a good life for that matter since it would be the last time I would see many of them. 

Now all I get to wrap up my last year in high school is some unanswered questions and unique memories. I never would have thought this was the way I was going to celebrate the “start of a new phase in my life” as many like to say. However, this experience has given me a very bright, clear warning. STOP SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST. Life is unpredictable and will never really go as plan. I will no longer wait for the right timing to truly enjoy the blessings in my life. Once the day comes, I will get out there and live with a purpose. I will see life as the gift it truly is, because why wait until its too late right? I will cherish my opportunity to learn as I continue my education in college and the memories that are headed my way.

Yet, while I wait for all of this to come to an end, I will continue to spend my days reading and learning a language. As the concept of time disappeared, books have helped me keep my feet planted to reality. I guess not having a due date looming over them has allowed to me return to my love of reading. Languages, however,  have also become a safe haven. This past month I began to learn Korean because it gave me a feeling of accomplishment. We all know the glorious feeling you get once you are able to master the one thing that used to give you hell. Mastering the pronunciation of a foreign word or recognizing a phrase I had spent days on memorizing made me feel that exact sensation. 

I am only able to say all of this because I have been blessed during this chaotic time period. Many have lost loved ones or comforts that they worked so hard for, yet all I lost was a school dance and a normal graduation ceremony. Right now millions of people wake up every day having to cope with economic and emotional hardships, so all I can do is be thankful and hope that one day we can look back and admire the way we united to survive COVID-19.

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