Chris Seward, senior biochemistry major, addresses fellow students from William Jewell College and offers his thoughts on staying optimistic through this pandemic.
To my fellow Jewell students,
Somehow I find myself writing this letter to you at 1:35 a.m. on a Sunday. About a week ago I was asked if I wanted to share my thoughts on COVID-19 and the impact it has had on my life. At the time I didn’t want to say anything because I was filled with plenty of negative emotions. I was upset my time ended early, frustrated our curriculum would have to change mid-semester and sad I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to some of my closest friends.
After saying a few choice words, shedding a few tears and reflecting a bit, I realized we are letting the coronavirus get the best of us. As seniors, we were allowing this petty virus to define what our class would be remembered by when it should be the other way around. After four years at Jewell, I have found one of the greatest traits I love about our community is the resilience we have as a family. The truth is we all are fighting our own battles every day. Personally, I first came to Jewell with the passion to create a drumline, yet, outside of music, I didn’t know many of my peers. Adjusting to my first semester at Jewell as a commuter, I couldn’t find the time to get to know the rest of my class, and I struggled. Sophomore year I received a concussion from my dog of all things and missed half of my fall semester. Junior year I faced personal hardship, and senior year we are now faced with the coronavirus. Yet, despite all of our own battles we may face, it is only through times of failure, hardship and trial that we truly discover who we are.
After having this realization and having plenty of time to think while quarantined, I decided to do the one thing I knew how to do best: I was a goof and created a TikTok account. After my first couple of videos, both my family and friends questioned the use of my time – and rightfully so. However, I realized the videos I made not only gave me something to do during quarantine, they made people happy.
A good friend of mine once told me “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” In these times, we should not wait for the storm to pass. We shouldn’t concede and admit this is how the class of 2020 will be remembered. Amid this pandemic, we should embrace the time we have and make the most of today – which obviously means making more TikTok videos for me.
I have truly enjoyed all of my time at Jewell, and I have truly enjoyed all the lifelong friendships I have made. This virus has allowed me to appreciate the time we have and remember what matters most in life. While this is heartbreaking for many of us, this is a test of our character, and I’m glad our senior class has the opportunity to face it. I know our class will not be defined by some virus. We are resilient. While we may not see each other again at least until commencement, there is still plenty of time left this semester to make TikTok videos and strive to leave our mark on Jewell. This is not the end for any of us. In the words of my favorite quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, “This is just the beginning.” While some of you may never see me again, I’d like to think I’ll see you all at least once more. While we have been pushed beyond our boundaries at Jewell, we have all been preparing for this moment. The tests that matter in life never are on a piece of paper or computer. It is life after Jewell when the real tests begin. I hope everyone finds the strength to push through during this time. I will truly miss everyone and the memories we made at this special place. These past four years have been priceless.
Deo fisus labora. I love you all.