Although this global pandemic is affecting the lives of millions of people, each person is experiencing and processing it in their own way. Most people would agree that the sense of ambiguity that COVID-19 has brought is a rational fear. There is an uncertainty of how long we will continue social distancing, a hope for finding a cure, and a general unease of how we will financially survive the future.

My experience has been trying to push that fear aside and keep my mind positive. Before all the global shutdowns, I traveled out to southern California for spring break to visit my sister who is attending grad school on the West Coast.

Four days after I landed in Los Angeles was when the pandemic forced most businesses to shut down and the CDC began to enforce social distancing. That is when fear began to become another emotion I was feeling. I was torn between flying back home to Duluth, Minnesota, which would be putting myself and my loved ones at risk; versus the fear of leaving my sister all alone in a state where she does not have any family members around.

I am glad I made the decision that brought me the most ease — staying in California. The adjustment to social distancing and quarantining can be difficult, but this is a time to enjoy time at home with our loved ones and cherish the moments that otherwise would not be created.

Grocery shopping looks a whole lot different now, there is tape on the ground enforcing social distancing in order to remain six-feet-apart. Everyone is in masks and gloves, and there is almost always a shortage on essential toiletries.

A positive, however, is that all the measures taken seem to be working, at least from my point of view. In the county in which I am residing in southern California, there has been a decrease in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

It is also during this time that I have had to learn how to adjust to completely online schoolwork, while maintaining relationships back home, trying to find a job after graduation this spring, planning for my best friend’s (at-risk) summer wedding, and the new norm of self-isolation which are all tough things to manage while being thousands of miles away from home.

Thankfully, I have had previous distant learning courses, so the adjustment to online school and coursework was one less stressor.

Thankfully, I have sunshine and mountain views to keep my mind positive, during a time in which it is easy for negativity to take over. Seeking joy in what we have at this moment will clear our minds to find a silver lining in this tough time of uncertainty.

If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught me about myself, it would be my perseverance and flexibility. As a senior, I am not going to slow down on the home stretch to graduation, regardless of what is put in my way.