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As I sat down to type this, I was distracted by my (lack of) plans for the Fourth of July weekend. You see, I had a trip planned to go float a river with friends, so when Governor Abbott closed all public river access in late June, a new wave of disappointment came over me as yet another set of plans were canceled.
I think it’s safe to say that canceled plans have affected everybody reading this post. Ring days, study abroad trips, graduation ceremonies, summer internships and surely many more incredible memories were lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For myself, I had a spring break trip to the TAMU-Qatar campus canceled less than 36 hours before we were set to depart. Shortly after, my maymester Ethics trip to Italy was laid to rest.
Frustration certainly described my psyche for a time. Over spring break, I was the most irritable I remember ever being. I was supposed to be in Doha, Qatar, not Lucas, Texas, and I made sure everybody knew that.
But along the way, it was refreshing to find fulfillment in the plans and people I still had around me. After our spring break trip cancellation, a quick decision was made to spend our final night with our newfound friends from Qatar at Spirit Ice Rink until the song “Closing Time” came over the speaker system. I felt conflicted between going to Gumby’s Pizza or heading home to sleep before my 8 a.m. exam; I compromised by staying up until 1:30 a.m. when I was all out of laughs (whoops).
After the semester concluded in May, I was met by one of my best experiences returning home from college. Spending quality time with family put me in no rush to return to College Station for my internship. For one of the first times since probably middle school, I had a handful of weeks with practically nothing on my calendar. Not every day was exciting, but being at home and resting with family and friends brought so much joy. And to be honest, I was not going to be studying for the LSAT while taking ENGR 482 in Italy.
I’ve heard it put that optimism isn’t blind hope, but rather a focus on what is actually present and happening. Optimism says the glass is half full because the glass is filled halfway with water. It’s the water that counts, not the air. Optimism allows me to remember the crazy past few months with joy over what I experienced, not worry about what I missed along the way.
My best memories of the past few months have come from enjoying the day, not worrying about what tomorrow may or may not bring. Plans may get wrecked, illnesses may be contracted and uneasiness may ring loud in your ears, but as a self-proclaimed stubborn optimist, I can’t stress enough that focusing on what still remains, who still remains and truly embracing these bright spots is refreshing in an otherwise confusing time.