Everything started in the year twenty-twenty. For me, the year started out great since I was halfway through my senior year of high school. Once I came back to school from winter break, I was excited to take effortless classes and to experience all the senior milestones. I had all kinds of dreams and aspirations that I wanted to happen before the start of my college career such as attending senior prom, graduating in Thompson Bowling Arena, and having a senior trip. However, my senior year ended differently than those who came before me. In March of twenty-twenty, COVID-19 spread across the nation and put everyone in lockdown. As a result, I did not have a prom, I had a different kind of graduation, and I never got to properly say goodbye to my high school career. At the beginning of the pandemic, I thought and hoped that everything would go back to normal by the fall, so I would have a normal college career. However, here we are a year later still dealing with the effects of COVID-19. 

Around the start of the pandemic, I met with my college advisor to choose my classes. I remember specifically telling her I did not want online classes because they terrified me. However, when the fall semester started, like most college students, I was all online. My first day of college was in my house which was a foreign concept for me considering it was not something I had ever faced before. My classes for the fall term were a mixture of Zoom and asynchronous classes, the very classes I asked not to have. That first week of remote and online learning was very stressful. I had to learn how to operate Zoom and my school’s learning management system all by myself. As the semester progressed, I realized I kind of liked learning remotely because I had control over my own schedule, something I had never experienced before. However, I realized that I was missing out on the college experience. I wanted to be on campus encountering both the academic and social opportunities college had to offer. Needless to say, I had a lot of mental breakdowns and questioned whether college was the right fit for me. 

What got me through those difficult times was a variety of things. For one, my support system. My parents listened and motivated me to push through adversity. Since I was not making new friends, I kept in touch with my friends from high school which helped me realize I was not alone in my struggles of remote learning. Additionally, my college’s faculty and professors were great about making the transition to online learning as easy as possible. I would say the biggest thing that kept me going was perseverance. The reason why I am going to college is to be the first in my immediate family to receive a bachelor’s degree, and I will not let a pandemic stop me. My perseverance helped me to finish the semester with a 4.0 GPA. Now, I tell my GPA not to boast, but to show everyone that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Despite everything, you make your own college experience even if that means it is not like everyone else’s. Therefore, I suppose it was perseverance, making my parents proud, and having a school and family support system that helped me through my first semester of college. 

Now I am in my spring semester taking all asynchronous courses and doing great. In that first semester, I realized that I could achieve more than I ever thought I could. Which brings me to my answer to one of the questions asked in the prompt, what advice can I share with other learners in their educational journey? If I could share one thing with other learners in their educational journey, I would say have perseverance. Even when times are tough and you feel your worst, remember why you started your journey, and channel that energy into your work. Additionally, to help you persevere find a major that you are in love with even if it is not something well-known. Remember what I said earlier, your college experience is what you make it. There is a well-known quote that goes something like this, “you can do whatever you set your mind to.” Not only do I wholeheartedly agree with this quote, but I want to add that nothing can stop you if you have perseverance, not even a pandemic.