It was seven months ago. On one of these crisp autumn days, I found out I was admitted to Ewha Womans University. I remember letting out a scream of joy—my mind was just filled with excitement and eagerness to start a new adventure, to enter into a new chapter of my life. Little did I know that I would start college online at my very own apartment because of this tiny, invisible virus! Due to the spread of COVID-19, as other freshmen would also agree, the beginning of our lives as Ewha students was met with disappointments and challenges. However, coronavirus has taught me many things that I would not have learned otherwise. I am grateful for all that I’ve come to learn through this pandemic. These three points are some of the lessons I came to learn or relearn.
1. Every day is a miracle
When I think of COVID-19, one of the things that cross my mind is social distancing. The coronavirus has profoundly changed our society as people cannot easily gather for any purposes, big or small. Through this whole situation, I realized how I’ve been taking so many things for granted—being able to meet with friends, to freely travel and breathe in fresh air without a mask, to talk to people face to face, and more—all these “normal activities” disappeared after coronavirus outbreak. Nowadays, these ordinary events have become so special, almost like miracles. Perhaps miracles aren’t only about the sudden, extraordinary events that happen to lucky people as we often perceive them to be. Perhaps miracles have been happening close to us in everyday life but all too common that they were barely noticed. After having gone through this pandemic, I want to be truly thankful for all these seemingly ordinary things, or rather, these pieces of wonder.
2. The Universal Vulnerability and Weakness of Humanity
COVID-19 also reveals that we are all weak and vulnerable to sickness and ultimately, death. While it isn’t even visible, it is very powerful and impartial; it mercilessly sweeps over hundreds of thousands, regardless of one’s social status, ethnicity, gender, or age. Nothing can allow or guarantee someone to avoid this disease or the reality of death. The words of Moustapha Danleb, a Chadian poet, ring true: “It only took a few days for humanity to realize that it is nothing but breath and dust.” As the coronavirus exposes our helplessness, it also raises important questions: What is the meaning of our existence? What is truly worth pursuing? This crisis thus reminded me to focus on things that last, things that are worth living for.
3. Importance of Relationships
Lastly, COVID-19 also taught me the importance of relationships. Relationships are the invisible links that still hold in chaotic times like this, even when we cannot be together physically. When the coronavirus broke out, at first, I tried to endure my own little difficulties by myself. Later, however, I realized how much I needed others’ help; I need to depend on others and reach out to them to receive and also give help. Trust, love, encouragement, friendship, and other relational values are priceless in these dark times, helping us to persevere together. The coronavirus also revealed that it’s not just about you; we are all connected. Even a small careless action can greatly harm others. Through this whole situation, I realized how much I should be considerate of others before doing whatever I want to do.
The world is still reeling amid this crisis, and we cannot tell what awaits us in these uncertain times. However, I believe this difficulty can be turned into an important turning point in our lives as we learn and change through this crisis. I hope the lessons that each of us gets out of this situation will turn into precious gems in our lives.