By: Shay Herbert
2020 has by far been the most stressful and confusing year that I have ever experienced.
When we first were sent home from school in the spring I was angry and unsure of what was going to happen with my academics, my surgery, my summer internship, etc. My whole life had a giant question mark over it. What I didn’t realize at the beginning was that the uncertainty of the pandemic and quarantine allowed me to grow as a person by discovering things about myself and the world around me.
The Bigger Picture
The pandemic provided me with more free time this spring than maybe any time in my life. It was nice in a way but also I sensed the time passing and wondered if I was doing enough with it. At first I took the extra time on my hands to nap and watch Netflix shows. After about a week of laying around doing basically nothing, I realized that I could be utilizing this time to improve myself.
Quarantine allowed me to educate myself about the racial injustices that have plagued this world for too long. I am a huge advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and I’m doing everything from signing petitions and spreading awareness about police brutality and racial discrimination. With that, I wanted to expand my knowledge of the world and I thought of no better way to do that then to read about other people’s stories. Autobiographies have always been a favorite genre of mine because you can learn so much from another person’s perspective and experiences. Not everyone grew up the same as you and it is important to realize that and educate yourself on different cultures, religions, economical statuses, etc.
The book that I took to heart the most was ‘Becoming Me’ by Michelle Obama. This book showed me how someone who grew up in a low income family from Southside Chicago has become one of the most successful women in the world. I was reading this around the time that the Black Lives Matter protests began and it was able to give me a perspective on what Black people go through every single day in America. She talked about inequality, discrimination, racism, and what it is like being a educated Black woman in America. Michelle inspired me to speak up about these racial inequalities and do everything I can to help create a better America where everyone is equal.
Another part of my quarantine was my ACL recovery. Just before quarantine started in early March I tore my ACL in our conference basketball tournament. It was something that I had been through before 4 years prior in high school basketball. We scheduled a surgery for the end of March knowing that ACL recoveries typically take anywhere between six and nine months to fully recover. I knew that the recovery was going to take a lot of time and dedication, but I was hopeful that I’d be back in time for the next season because I was getting my surgery early.
Unfortunately, my hopes were crushed when COVID got worse and my surgery was delayed until further notice. Doubt of being able to recover in time raced through my mind when I got the news of the delay, especially because we were unsure of how long I’d have to wait. I decided not to sit around and feel bad for myself, but instead work on building my strength prior to surgery so that I could have a faster recovery. I ended up getting the surgery in May, two months after the original scheduled date. Since then, quarantine allowed me to devote time each day to my recovery and it is definitely paying off. I am now a little over three months out and close to a full recovery. This commitment I made to myself has put me three months ahead in this process and I will be able to play the first day of practice.
Despite the frustration and uncertainty that is 2020, quarantine allowed me to grow both mentally and physically and become the best version of myself.