Self-Reflection in Quarantine

Written by: Ryiah, Teen Squad participant and member of the class of 2020

During this quarantine I learned that I am a force to be reckoned with. I’ve known for a while that I will avoid social interaction because I am afraid of judgement and very insecure about my lisp and the way my mouth moves when I talk. I always second guess myself, even when I say things purposefully. I know that if I were to try and change myself I wouldn’t be authentic so I would just try my hardest to hide those feelings. However during this quarantine I have been doing some serious soul searching and really take time to learn who I am…

I’ve learned I don’t have everything planned out at the moment and it’s okay to live in the unknown. I’ve learned how to make the best out of every situation. Being at home, I have a lot of free time to read more and to fill out scholarships. I’ve even learned more about my family and have gotten closer to my grandma.

I have also learned more about my work ethic. I have always done quality work, but being confined in my home I realized this even more. During virtual report card pick up I almost wanted to cry because my teachers were telling my grandma, mom and I how appreciative they are to have me as a student, the great work I am doing, and how they can’t wait to see what I do. I know I want to do great things and be the best me I can be, so I don’t know why I would put my own self down…What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid? I’ve been to conferences where I’ve had to hide in the bathroom and cry a little because I just felt so uncomfortable and I just wanted to go home. During this quarantine I have been trying to find the answers to those questions.

The COVID-19 pandemic is such a terrible thing that has happened, but in the midst of all this sickness I have had the time to reflect and I’ve learned so much about myself. I am looking for opportunities to continue growing and change into the person I envision. I learned that I am a very spiritual person and I plan to invest in building an altar for when I pray. These next four years at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign I will be investing more in my mental health and education.