Gaining a new perspective from COVID-19

Jordyn Venden, Guest Columnist

I’m a firm believer in the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” I don’t know why COVID-19 has impacted our world the way it has, but I trust that there’s something I can gain from this experience. If I’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it’s perspective.

Courtesy of Jordyn Venden

I never dreamed that my last semester of college would be like this, or that our graduation ceremony would be online.

My idea of graduation was walking across the stage in a cap and gown to receive my diploma. I feel like I’ve had my celebration ripped away from me like I’m missing a milestone. But from another perspective, the circumstances created by the virus don’t diminish all our accomplishments that led us here.

We’re not missing out on our memories at UWO or our futures. I’ll leave Oshkosh thankful for the four short years that I had here, and thankful for how college has changed me.

Now we wonder why so many people are suffering and dying from the virus. Why are our health care workers struggling to fight the virus? Why have our social lives been turned upside down?

Suddenly we want our lives to “go back to normal,” no matter how many times we may have complained about our busy routines in the past.

It seems like the world’s been consumed by the virus, and all the damage caused by the pandemic feels unfair.

In the same breath, so many more people recovered worldwide than have died, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

How have local businesses managed to adjust and succeed even in these circumstances? How have teachers and students been able to develop new routines and new ways of learning on a moment’s notice?

While we’re isolated from one another, we’re united globally by our efforts to slow the virus and by our experiences with social distancing regulations. From this perspective, some incredible things have happened in response to a terrible situation.

The coronavirus is forcing us to embrace the unexpected. Now we’re being reminded of what we’re thankful for and realizing what we took for granted only a few months ago. I truly believe that when the pandemic passes, people will feel a deeper appreciation for afternoon walks, family gatherings, nights out with friends and traveling.

Next time we catch ourselves complaining that we’re busy with work or school, feeling like we’re stuck in a rut, let’s try to remember when the world shut down, and remember how lucky we are to go to school and have a job.

We’re living through a time of uncertainty, fear and frustration — when this is over, my hope is that the world will have gained from it the gift of new perspectives.