Written by Mark Ramzy and Houssen Salih
It has been just over a year since our lives as we know them changed indefinitely. Since then, we’ve collectively and individually battled through one of the strangest and most difficult years in recent history. Some people have used this time in isolation as an opportunity to develop new hobbies and seek personal growth. Others have simply attempted to survive the seemingly endless days at home. For most people, however, both things have come hand in hand. Two Xavier Times Executives share their reflections on the past year:
Mark Ramzy, Writing Executive:
If I had to choose one word to describe this past year, I would go with surreal. What started as just a two-week break turned into months of lockdowns and heavy restrictions. At times it was very easy to fall into unproductive thinking, but I’ve kept myself at peace by taking into perspective that there are over seven billion other people in the world facing the same unfamiliar circumstances I am. Over the past year, I found myself doing what I’m doing now most of the time: reflecting. As a result, I would like to think that I’ve learned a lot more about myself, I’ve become wiser, and I’ve grown as a person quite a bit. Alongside my reflection, I used the plethora of free time I had to pick up a few new hobbies. Firstly, being a handyman. I assembled tables, chairs, and other furniture for myself and other family members, which I found very enjoyable. Secondly, listening to music. A lot of music. It amazes me just how much my music taste has evolved since this time last year. Music was always a significant part of my life, but since the start of the pandemic, its role in my life has grown to the point of becoming something that I need daily. Finally, I started writing a lot more. I always loved to write, but it seemed like I never had the time to do so pre-COVID. In fact, the start of our school newspaper came at a perfect time, because I’m not sure it’s something I would’ve participated in during past years. Writing down my thoughts, as I’m doing right now, provides me with a way to express myself and cope with the hard times I faced throughout the year. It has definitely been a transformative experience and I would recommend it to everyone reading this. As I look back on things, I can definitely say that having my social life altered due to the pandemic had a silver lining to it as it allowed me to learn more about who I am and what I’d like to be doing with my life. I am extremely grateful for this life-changing year, but of course, I look forward to a future where these days are far behind us.
Houssen Salih, Co-Chief Editor, Founder
This past year has been filled with ups and downs. What started as a bonus two-week break turned into a pandemic filled with grief of all kinds. Covid has taken away something from everyone, for some good memories to come, and for others, their loved ones. The pandemic has managed to challenge us in unimaginable ways, and we all became vulnerable in one way or another. As much as this last year has taken away from us, I can’t deny what it has given me. Through this pandemic, I have been able to take steps that would have seemed impossible to me before. The pandemic brought me back to writing, one thing that I forgot how much I loved, lost between my job and school. It sparked my interest in creating our newspaper, something that I never thought I would ever be able to do. During all of this, I also managed to meet some of the greatest people in my life, and I have learned so much from them. They have taught me that the only limits that exist are the ones you set for yourself. I also found much more appreciation for the people in my life pre-covid, and while we may not talk as much, the meaning behind our relationships was never how much we spoke, but in the comfort of knowing we are always there for one another. My mom used to tell me as a child and sometimes even now, “Our life is a test, how we choose to handle it will give us our result for the future.” At first, I never really cared whenever she told me this, but now I think I’ve gotten it figured out. We can get a B in a class, a grade so we don’t fail, and just enough knowledge for the class ahead, but others like to go even further and study for an A. Why? Well, the same applies to our own lives. We only need to eat and sleep to survive, the bare necessities, but we choose to excel so we can live a life filled with our own dreams and goals.
As vaccination rollouts begin, the light at the end of the tunnel seems closer. We urge all of our readers and team members to reflect on the past year. How have you grown? What are you looking forward to most? We each have a story to tell.
Image: The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article-how-to-survive-the-cocoon-of-self-isolation/