COPING WITH A PANDEMIC

The apocalypse that began earlier this year in March is one I was forced to endure up until now. Continuously inundated with negative media from all over the world about how the pandemic had impacted people’s lives, I was forced to look for the silver lining in the very dark cloud hovering over the world. My experience was, and still is, nowhere near pleasant, but I think I have done great so far.

The adjustment to online classes has been by far the worst and hardest pill to swallow during this pandemic. When I first got the news from the school that classes would continue normally online, I knew what was coming. Screens in the classroom had switched from being a temptation to being a tool. Many a time, our lecturers in school have pleaded with us to stay off our phones during class, and now, we were expected to use our electronics to attend class? This was going to be a challenge.

The temptations were real! The biggest change I saw in myself was becoming less focused on my schoolwork. With temptations such as attending class in bed, muting the lecturer to catch up with the latest Netflix series, and scrolling through social media throughout the class without the lecturer’s knowledge, I was bound to concentrate less in class. However, this could not continue for a whole semester, unless I was planning to fail (which I was not of course.)

I needed to make some changes and make them fast. I, therefore, decided to stick to a particular schedule, keep my phone away during class, and build endurance by taking breaks from sitting still in front of my laptop.  It was not easy, but once I made these three changes, I was more focused and less tired of attending my classes online. I was able to slowly adjust and now, it is my new normal. I see nothing of it.

Spending close to six months with my family members in the same house also proved to be a challenge I did not expect to be slapped in the face with. We were now interacting with one another 24/7. Usually, there was minimal interaction on weekdays as we would all leave the house in the morning and return in the evening. Most of the interaction was done on the weekends. As a result of this constant interaction, petty disagreements began to crop up and we were all forced to re-learn how to live together peacefully.

I discovered new traits in my family members that I did not know they had. I, therefore, needed to dig deep and reveal certain levels of understanding and self-giving of myself, in order to cope and live with them in peace. For example, I had to learn how to be quiet while preparing myself in the morning since none of them are morning people, and they would get very angry when I would wake them up with my loud music. I also had to sometimes compromise on the splitting of chores with my sibling as this was the most disagreed upon topic in the house.

The teachings of the Founder on working together towards the same goal, despite differences in opinion aided in this family challenge. Compromising in order to achieve shared goals in the house was not easy, but we had to start getting used to the new normal.

St. Josemaría’s decree that everyone is called to live the human virtues of punctuality, order, industriousness, and cheerfulness together with theological virtues of faith and hope have been very helpful in navigating my way through the new normal. It is through the understanding of these teachings that I was able to successfully transition into online classes and learn to live peacefully with my family. I was able to maintain a positive outlook throughout the bad days by taking time each day to pray and jot down the small things that I was grateful for. These simple acts gave me hope that this too shall pass and indeed, it has.

Although my experience during this pandemic can in no way be compared to what our Founder went through in his quest to spread God’s message, I am proud to have come out a winner, and learned a couple of things.

Amidst a worldwide apocalypse that changed people’s lives beyond recognition, my take-home is that time heals all wounds. Hardships, although painful, eventually pass as time moves on and it is only through an enormous amount of patience that one is able to turn their terrors into triumphs. If there is anything that a hardship should teach you, it is that you will not only survive! You will thrive!

This article was written by Natasha Wanjiru Kiiru, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication student.

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