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The unexpected blessings I found amid the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has righted some wrongs in my life.

Nur Sabrina
Nur Sabrina

Needs her space organised and clean 24/7.


Published: 28 December 2021, 4:40 PM

Sometimes, I feel like my last few years of teenhood were robbed by COVID-19. 

Studying and working from home became the norm, which meant that I seldom met my friends. I missed out on overseas trips with loved ones and, until now, the many new restrictions make it hard for me to truly enjoy my time out. 

But to call COVID-19 “the most unfortunate” thing that has happened to me would be inaccurate. Despite all these negative things, the pandemic has brought me so many good things.

Making up for lost time with my family

Before the pandemic started, I was constantly busy, spending most of my time on campus. When I wasn’t in school, I’d be at work

This meant that I was only home to sleep, with barely enough time to sit and enjoy a proper conversation with my family who were also busy with their own schedules. Although we had free time over the weekends, we would usually be too tired to go out together. 

But with COVID-19, most of us had to work and study from home, giving us opportunities to spend more time together. Not only did we watch movies together on weekdays, we also went cycling on weekends.

 

cycling-pulau-ubin
With some extra free time, I took the opportunity to go cycling at Pulau Ubin with my mother. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NUR SABRINA

 

As we saw each other almost all the time, I managed to get much closer to my family at home.

I have to admit that my family was growing apart as we got older, and we needed this time together. It may sound odd, but I’m thankful to the pandemic for bringing us closer than ever. 

 

pet-cat
This furry member of my family could not be happier with everyone at home giving him attention. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NUR SABRINA

Finding out who my true friends are

While I got closer to my family, I grew apart from certain “friends”. 

Since I started online lessons and had to cut down on physical interactions, I saw my coursemates and friends less. 

At first, I would make the first move to check up on my friends. We Skyped on most nights and went over to each other’s houses when it was safe to do so.

But being apart for months at a time took a toll on some of my friendships. I noticed how it was always me initiating a conversation or meetup, so I decided to lay low for a while. 

It didn’t take me long to realise that my “friends” treated me like a second choice, someone they only looked for when they had no one else to be with. 

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised when some of them never bothered to reach out to me. While I was tempted to reach out at some points, I changed my mind as I did not want a one-sided relationship. 

From there, I was able to figure out who would be there for me through my tough patches.

 

friends-outing
Now I’ve learnt who will stick by my side through my ups and downs. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NUR SABRINA

 

Though low-maintenance friendships exist, it is important to ensure that it isn’t only you doing all the work. 

If this happens to you, you might initially be sad. But on the bright side, you get to really know who you can call your genuine friends. 

By realising who my true friends were, I managed to better focus my time on them. Come to think of it, because my circle of friends became smaller, I knew I could trust them all.

Bettering myself for my own sake

Before the pandemic, most of my attention and time were diverted to studies and work. I was both mentally drained and less physically active.  

As I lived over an hour away from campus, online lessons saved me loads of travelling time. This gave me a little taste of self care, and I decided to use this opportunity to improve my physical and mental health

I started to read again, organised my days with a planner and did light exercises in the morning.  

I experienced many benefits once I started doing these. Now, I spend less time on screens and  get less headaches. My eating and sleeping schedules are also back to normal, and I feel more energised and motivated for the day. 

I wasn’t just healthier, but I was happier as well. With my new lifestyle, I finally felt content with myself.

Saving more money than before

Since I was at home most of the time, I cut down expenses on transport and meals, and saved more money.

A few months into working and studying from home, I saw how quickly I managed to save up. In return, I was motivated to work harder to earn more money.

 

piggy-bank
While most of my savings are in the bank, I do keep some spare cash in case. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NUR SABRINA

 

Though my normal life will eventually resume, all the money I’ve saved up can be used as a “head start”’ for my early years of adulthood. But for now, I’m glad I can express my gratitude to my mother by treating her at nice restaurants. 

 

I’ve always wondered how different things would’ve turned out if the COVID-19 pandemic  never happened.  

I could’ve gone for that school trip to Thailand, I would have benefited from hands-on lessons, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed my time at prom night. 

Thinking about how much I lost truly upsetted me, until I realised that blinded me from seeing what I’ve gained. From healing myself to rebuilding bonds with family members, COVID-19 has taught me so much more about myself and others. 

Perhaps spending the last few years of my teenhood in this pandemic wasn’t so bad after all.


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