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Life is really about attitude and perspective

Allison Hellwig, took time to share her spring break 2020 experience.   Allison is graduating in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degrees in Paper Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering, as well as a business minor.

NO Running Water

I participated in an Alternative Service Break through the university which included students traveling to a small village in the Dominican Republic to build running  water systems for people most in need in the community. The particular community we were assigned had NO form of running water. During the week, we were fully immersed in the Dominican culture, truly enjoying our time and admiring the spirit and happiness of the people living in the community. Seven days with no cell phone service, no talk of politics or Covid-19;  proved to be a perfect time to decompress and refresh while also working to serve others. This experience was very rewarding.

The night before we left for the Dominican Republic, our group stayed/slept in Talley Student Union (TSU), we made this decision based on having to arrive to RDU airport at 4am the next morning. We complained so much about this because the lights don’t ever turn off in TSU and it was extremely uncomfortable. Little did we know, that this would be the last time we would set foot in TSU, or even on campus for a very long time. As a senior, the thought of this is heartbreaking.

“New Norm” Lifestyle

When we returned to the US, we were confronted with a whole “new norm” lifestyle.  We knew that NC State had extended spring break for another week, but we did not understand the full magnitude of the situation. We didn’t realize the we would not be returning to campus, our classes, or our friends for a long time, if ever. For me, the saddest part is not the inability to see my friends, as they are people that I will stay in contact with for years to come, but the people that I will miss the most are all of the people in my classes, who had became a part of my everyday life and are suddenly gone.

At the beginning of quarantine, I found myself to be obsessed with all the things that I will “probably never do again” because Covid-19 struck in the middle of my senior year. I will ‘probably never’ sit in a class in PPL 2221 again, eat dinner at my sorority house or get rained on while waiting for the Wolfline. Yes, these things are unfortunate but, as the reality of quarantine sunk in and I reflected on my trip to the Dominican, including all the people that I had the privilege to meet, I was reminded of the larger problems they face daily, and yet, they always were able to find joy at the end of the day. Realistically, I will ‘probably never’ do a whole list of things again, but only because I was fortunate enough to have attended college and graduate; allowing me to attain a great new job in a new state.

Without Quarantine I Probably Never Would’ve…

My lesson from quarantine is not to obsess about the small things that were taken from us, but to focus on “without quarantine I probably never would’ve…”

  • Spent as much time with my family before I leave for a new job in a new state at the end of this summer
  • Challenged myself to new fitness goals
  • Made a photobook of a trip I took over winter break
  • Learned to enjoy cooking dinner (and having time to clean up after!)
  • Started taking daily walks for fun

Joy is chosen

I have found so much enjoyment in slowing down and actually feeling like I have time to do my schoolwork and everything else that I want to do in the day. While these times are filled with stress and uncertainty for many people around the world, this situation is out of our hands. I find great peace in remembering the people that I met in the Dominican and their ability to live in a world of uncertainty ALL THE TIME, but if they can continue to find joy and happiness at the end of every day, so can I!

By guest blogger Allison Hellwig