Mount Pic

It is April the 14th and I am sitting on a bench in the university fields, facing the fountains that seem to endlessly burst in joy. What a beautiful day it is.  

Let me tell it like it is.  

The lakes are sparkling, the leaves on the trees are steadily growing, the wildflowers are beginning to bloom, the ducks are swimming, the squirrels are playing and the birds soaring in heavenly peace. Nature has once again saved our world with its undying beauty that we so desperately need 

It has been over a year now since the pandemic has begun and as a community, as a society and as a world, we are in a different place today than when we were a while ago. So much has changed for each one of us and while the past months and year has raised different kinds of feelings for us allfor me, it has somewhat been a new beginning.

Let me tell it like it is. 

As cliché as it may sound, I wanted to chase my dreams and nothing was going to stop me from doing this, not even my own two cold and sweaty feet during this pandemic. But even though I was filled with this extreme determination, fear refused to leave my side. For a while I used to ask, “give me one reason why I should not do this?” Respectfully, I refused to listen to its answer, so every day repeated to myself, “I’m ready.”  

When I first arrived on campus I was filled with apprehension and I think I felt every bit of every feeling possible in my bodyI was bursting with the uncertainty that I missed home more than my body could handle. Although I met new faces, said my cheerful hellos and tried to let people see my smile through my mask, felt so alone. At that time, did not know if this was the right thing to do in my life and I thought if I could get a Lyft to the airport and return home it might just be alright. Unfortunately, the Lyft app did work but there were never any cars on any dayMaybe it was meant for me to stay. The honest truth, I cried on my first night and it was horrible as it may sound to me today. traveled thousands of miles across countries to a new unknown in an unsettling time and to be honest, I was so afraid deep down in my soulEverything was new, everything was different. My friends sympathetically questioned my decision but they supported me. My family hesitated with my decision but they blessed me. I questioned my madness but I still looked ahead.

Let me tell it like it is.  

I stood at the departure gate and turned to look back to see a loving face that I would miss so dearly. Then I felt the crowd look at me as if I was a child. As tears fell to my cheeks, I dropped my head and quietly went forward into this huge unknown space filled with strangers. Travelers coming and going from different destinations, all from the unknown, walking amidst each other, wearing masks, wearing shades and gloves as if we were all scheduled for an ultra-mission to MarsOddly enough, wall seemed to carry that weight of uncertainty and there were simply no smiles to be seen. But I continued to reassure myself that it was going to be alright. At this point in my life, the search had endedWhen I boarded the flighttook a deep and long breath and I made a promise to myself. I said, “If it doesn’t work out, I will return knowing that I had tried.” As the wheels of the plane lifted off, my soul was screaming for certainty and it cried itself to sleep. After fifteen hours and still with another flight to go, I had finally landed in this new place. 

Let me tell it like it is.  

I could not let the pandemic stop me from starting over, from going back to college and chasing my dreams, and despite it not being an easy time I am here now and doing the best that I can. I had to take that chance and step into this new world of social distancing, hybrid class schedules, being alone, taking tests to confirm my health, hearing the increase in cases and wondering if a cure would prevail. So far this journey into the unfamiliar has been a phenomenal experience in every way that I can possibly imagine. The University has gone above and beyond in offering me a sense of comfort and has supported me and its students endlessly during these unprecedented times. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I could feel a certain amount of normalcy in this campus during these trying times. I am proud to be part of this community that strives to deliver that beautiful sense of belonging and keeping the spirit of togetherness alive on campus during this pandemic 

While this might not be an easy time for all of us, we must continue to reassure ourselves that we are already experiencing signs of improvements that represent signs of a new beginning. What is important is that we continue to move forwarwith this energy because there will come a day when we will look back at these periods and we will be proud of how hard we had worked. While the loss of loved ones has been detrimental to far too many people around the worldletting go of a loved one under moments like this is not quite what anyone could have imaginedMy heart feels for these losses and I pray that in time, our world will heal itself from the sadness. 

I write from my heart because as I continue my studies into the medical sciences, I have reminded myself that education alone can never be enough in any trying moment. It takes courage, strength and an endless amount of sacrifice to push through times like this and this comes from deep within us. I see it as a unique place that is embedded in our soul and that science may never be able to explain this rare roomAs for me, it has not been quite like a four-leaf clover moment. I did not want to pick the leaves and set myself up for what may be, but realistically, I set myself up to know that starting over is all about a new beginning. So, I have embraced the university’s welcome with open arms and this amazing place has given me something so exclusive that will fill my soul till my end.  

Let me tell it like it is.  

I sit here looking at the beautiful green pastures and fill my lungs with the smell of wildflowersI sit here staring out to the skies well beyond the white clouds and fill my soul with the beautiful sunshine. Maybe, we just need to slow down and learn to breathe life in. Maybe, we need to see the real world without our dark shades. Maybe, we just need to embrace the beauty of life as it is. Perhaps happiness means different things to different people but, to me, it is all about feeling joy so I can begin to smile again.  

Today, I may still wear my mask, but if I see you, I will smile and work harder in raising my eyebrows so you can see me smile. My grandfather once said to me, “Lynn, if you don’t smile, I can’t see you.” I asked him what he meant, and he replied, “Your smile is a window into your soul. Now I can see who you are so let others see this too.” 

Thank you, Mount Union for making me smile. I hope that one day when I can finally remove my mask into a new world, you can see me. You have touched my soul in more ways than you will ever know.

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