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Dear Future Self,

Oh my, has your life been turned upside-down! You sure have been through a lot, but you’ve adapted and remained positive and hopeful through it all, and for that, I am proud of you! It is not easy to maintain motivation when you don’t know what your future holds, but you’ve done it. You continued to excel in and out of the classroom, so give yourself a hug and remember that during the time of COVID-19 you did the best you could, and that is all that anyone could as of you. As things start to return to some form of normalcy, I want to give you some advice based on things I’ve realized during this strange time. So buckle up! Here we go!

1. Never take any moment with the people you love for granted!

This lesson can be applied in many ways. In regards to the pandemic, it sees no boundaries. You don’t know who might get it and who might not come out of it, so never take any moment for granted. You never know when it might be your last. In regards to your life, things can change instantly. One minute you can be away at school surrounded by your friends and the next you are at home and being told to limit your exposure to anyone who is not in your immediate family. So bottom line, never take a moment for granted especially when you are with people you love and care about.

2. Appreciate the little things, and never underestimate their importance!

Whether it’s being able to give someone a hug, go to a restaurant, or be able to feel fruit at the grocery store and not have to worry about who has already touched it, you should never underestimate the importance of the little things. Just remember as you go through life that certain things are not given they are privileges, so take a moment each day to be thankful for the privileges you receive on a daily basis.

3. Be present!

Make sure you are always living in the moment and being present. During this pandemic, I have found that when I look to the future or start reminiscing on the past that is when I become most down and sad. When I just try to live in the moment and enjoy what it is I am doing in that instant my new normal is a little more bearable. When you live in the moment, colors become brighter, sounds become clearer, and memories sweeter and more frequent. Being present and living each moment to the fullest can be hard, but try your best to do this each and every day and you will find joy.

During this pandemic, I have frequently been reminded that while yes my life has altered significantly, I am healthy, my family is healthy, my friends are healthy, and overall I don’t have

it that bad. It has reminded me of a quote from my late sorority sister Wynn. Wynn lived her life by the motto “have fun and look out for the lonely people.” I think this is something to really think about during this pandemic and in the future. Yes, have fun, live in the moment, and be present, that is so important, but also make sure you are aware of how those around you are doing. Check-in with people, make sure their mental health is doing okay. Overall this time has taught me to just slow down a little and enjoy the journey. We get going so fast and frequently forget to pause and just be where our feet are. This virus has slowed everyone down and while it completely altered our day to day lives there is something beautiful and positive in the fact that everyone has had to take a second to just be.

So future self, I leave you with this. “Have fun and look out for the lonely people.” Be where your feet are and never take a hug for granted again.

You’ve got this, Kate

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