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Opinion: Early lessons from COVID-19 in my last two months of college

ASW President and Maggie Regier enjoy refreshments while at a Westminster College event in February. Regier writes to The Forum that her last two months of senior year have “been taken from me.” (Photo courtesy Maggie Regier)

I am in the last two months of my senior year, which now feel that they’ve been taken from me. It just sucks. I had to call my family and let them know not to come out. I don’t get goodbyes and final classes. I am now likely entering the workforce during a recession – risking the possibility of having to move back in with my parents for an indefinite amount of time. 

And, in the spirit of vulnerability, I am not doing all that well. I am sad, confused, scared and driving my roommates insane by being cooped up all day. 

But despite all of this, there are things I am learning. 

  1. We have all been moving too quickly. I am using this pandemic as an excuse to slow down and enjoy my life. Turns out I am not very good at moving slowly, as I imagine many of you also are. Americans are obsessed with gaining more, going further, and crossing some imaginary finish line. I hope that our current situation is letting us re-evaluate our priorities and learn to enjoy smaller joys in life.
  2. The health of the public will always be an uphill battle. In my opinion, universal healthcare is the only ethical way to do healthcare – health is a human right. Yet I am seeing proponents of universal healthcare flocking to Moab, the beach, or taking advantage of cheap flights to foreign countries. “Oh, well I am safe,” they say. We are so individually focused as a society, that I wonder (and worry) if it will ever be possible to have a community lens. In order to have a functioning society, we must get this community lens and hold onto it. 
  3. Plans fail. Two years ago, my AMP (Alumni Mentoring Program) Mentor told me he became a “rough outliner” instead of a planner. I took this advice to heart and shared this wisdom with everyone I spoke to. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you realize that you are still, in fact, a planner. I had planned the next couple years pretty darn closely, leaving me mourning what I had figured out for myself. Yet life will always throw a curveball, so I need to let go of planning my future down to the minute. 

We’re living in uncertain times, so we must have faith. Have faith that our neighbors are doing their best, that the world will keep spinning, and that we can get through this. We must have grace for ourselves and for one another. Our resilience will get us through this, defining us for generations to come. 

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Maggie Regier
Maggie is a Westminster senior studying Community Health Leadership, and currently serves as Student Body President. You can reach her at aswpresident@westminstercollege.edu

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