How the Coronavirus pandemic affected my life, for worse and for better.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last March, my life has drastically changed in every foreseeable way. When quarantine first began, my senior year was abruptly cancelled, I was deciding whether or not to move back to Washington and my life felt like it was largely in shambles. I had been planning on moving to Hollywood after graduation, but with the virus taking hold in nearly every way, I wasn’t sure what my future looked like whatsoever.

Obviously, I wasn’t the only student facing challenges. Over 85 colleges have reported at least 1,000 cases of COVID-19 over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, and over 680 colleges have reported at least 100 cases. In the state of California alone, there have been 9,065 cases at 79 schools.

I contracted coronavirus, quarantined for months, and made the move from Azusa to Los Angeles mostly on my own. It seemed that life as I knew it would never be the same again. I got a job in PR, working remotely in the midst of it all, and for a moment it felt like my life plan was back on track. But like many others during the pandemic, I was swiftly laid off as reopening plans in California were pushed back every few weeks. 

The day I was laid off from my job, I happened to be with my friend Kellie Cage. Kellie and I sat at dinner and after drowning my sorrows in the bread basket and some pasta, we discussed what life looked like for us going forward, and how our careers weren’t exactly going the way we’d planned. 

A few weeks prior, we had gone thrift shopping with our friend Annie Easton. When she pulled a vintage long-sleeve western top off the rack, I remarked how cool it would be to cut out the back, make it a tie and rework it into a more modern garment. Kellie has always loved to make clothes, as have I, and thrifting has long been a passion of ours. We wondered if it would be possible to monopolize a hobby of ours, especially in a time where solitary creativity is both necessary and celebrated.

After a whirlwind conversation about our design idea, the work that would go into it and what designs we could construct on our own, we settled on a name for our company— Hamartia, a literary term that had been my favorite word since I heard it in my 9th grade English class. Hamartia is a noun, defined as “a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine.” I’d always loved the idea of a fatal flaw — that sometimes our greatest strengths can be our greatest weaknesses, and we must learn how to use these things to our benefit.

In that same spirit, I was able to take a whole slew of bad situations and turn them around. If lockdown had never happened, if I’d never been laid off from my job, if I hadn’t randomly gone thrift shopping with my friends that day, my life could easily look drastically different. 

The sentiment brings to mind a scripture, Romans 8:28, which states “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” 

I am incredibly thankful for the challenges brought by this past year, and aside from finding a new career path, I also feel as if I have grown deeply as an individual. It is all too easy to run from yourself and your internal turmoil when there are a million distractions surrounding you, and it’s hard to know how you will react to your world completely turning upside down, especially as an extrovert. 

I found that spending more time in solitude caused me to deeply reflect on my life choices and made me want to take control of my own life in ways I never had before. Allowing life to happen to you is an easy route to take, but your destination is rarely what you want it to be. Although lockdown and the pandemic brought many challenges with it, overcoming those trials  taught me more than I ever could have learned during a “normal” life season.