When I was sent home during my sophomore year at the University of Maryland, College Park due to Coronavirus, I had no idea how prominent the topic of mental health would become in my life. My initial reaction was similar to mostly everyone else; I left my college campus for Spring Break expecting to be back in two weeks, figuring that COVID-19 was some weird virus that would disappear quickly. I was obviously proven wrong.
I am the type of person who is a stereotypical extrovert. While I love my alone time and occasional lazy days, I truly love meeting new people, spending time with my friends, going on adventures and exploring new places. Prior to the pandemic, I actually loved going to my classes because I got to spend time with my friends instead of talking to them through screens. This motivated me to do my assignments, so we could do our work or study together at the library or a coffee shop on campus. After being sent home to stop the spread of COVID-19 and transitioning to virtual classrooms, I initially lost a lot of that motivation.
COVID-19 causes me to feel extremely drained and depressed for the first time in my life, even though I, quite literally, sat in my bed and did nothing all day for weeks. I had no reason to get up and change out of my pajamas when all of my classes were on my laptop, I couldn’t see my friends, and it was still too cold outside to enjoy nature during March and April 2020. Like everyone else, the only activities I could do during quarantine were scroll through social media, do homework, and watch movies/TV. The fear of getting coronavirus made me extremely anxious on top of this depression, especially since I have older and immunocompromised family members in my household. I felt miserable since I didn’t have a social life, but I felt guilty for being upset about it, because people were becoming sick and dying from a new virus.
I managed to pull myself out of this quarantine depression by finding aspects of my life to feel grateful for each day, whether it was getting an iced coffee, painting a blank canvas, or taking my dog for a walk. I realized that the pandemic allowed me to have more “me time” than ever before, and I used it to my advantage. I started styling my hair and make-up even if I wasn’t going anywhere or just had a Zoom meeting/class. Knowing that I looked good made me feel good, and I ended up improving my grades significantly by the end of my sophomore year. A lot of these habits that I developed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have caused me to become a different person compared to March 2020. It’s caused me to value the little things in life, such as spending time with friends and family, going to classes, and even being a part of my college’s campus community, since I lived life without it for a long period of time. With my senior year of college approaching, I can honestly say that I will appreciate the in-person experiences and quality time with friends much more than I would have if COVID-19 had never existed.
About The Author:
Shannon Gorman and I am a 22-year-old college student from Colts Neck, New Jersey! She is currently a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park with a major in communication and focus on public relations. She is an active member of the Sigma Kappa, Beta Zeta chapter on the UMD campus. Her hobbies include photography, painting, watching movies, travelling and fashion. You can follow her on Instagram: @shan.gorman.