By Nicole Ufheil

I feel that I have learned many valuable lessons from the coronavirus pandemic experience.  In my college experience, moving from the classroom instruction to online learning has been easy for me.  I was already comfortable with online courses because I had already taken some in the past.  The amount of work is still the same.  I was able to save a lot of time because I did not have to waste hours commuting to and from school.  I still had online meetings every week with my professors, and this established constant connection with them to receive appropriate guidance and instruction.  

  My personal life involved more adjustments that were difficult for me, though. I am very involved with fitness and immensely enjoyed going to the gym and a Pilates studio. These were my outlets for social connections, stress relief and maintaining good health.  All of a sudden, things closed, and I was stuck in the house.  The most exciting thing I have done since the stay at home orders was going to a doctor’s appointment.  I was able to find online instruction for fitness classes from Pilates studio and YouTube videos that involved yoga and barre workouts. This has helped a little bit, but I feel as if my workouts are not as effective for me as they could be if I was in an actual studio or gym. 

So I am a little more moody than usual and not as relaxed as I could be if I had my usual outlets.  At first, I was very anxious and fearful, especially for my mother who still has to work. This has subsided as I get used to my new temporary existence.

I feel as if I am coping better than I was in the beginning.  At first, I could not go anywhere or do anything, which led to some temporary feelings of helplessness.  Now, I am in a better frame of mind and getting used to staying home more.  I have been able to learn how to cope by keeping myself busy.  I have been busy with classwork, reading, fitness and watching my favorite shows on streaming sites.  Coping was hard in the beginning, but I realize that these changes are just temporary, and life will get back to normal soon.  

The message that I would say to others is that these changes could not have been prevented.  We are all dealing with something that is unknown and could possibly have harmful effects on all of us.  There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, and the best prevention right now is to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of this illness.  This is for our own good and the good of others.  Hard times make us stronger, and this time is no exception.  The best gift that we can receive from this is that our loved ones and we are healthy and safe.  

During this time, what has become most important to me is the health and safety of my loved ones.  I have taken this time to strengthen family ties and realize that there are more important things than going to a gym.