COVID-19 BLOG: Maybe everything happens for a reason

Aspen+Makayla+Ramos+%28top+middle%29+talks+with+friends+on+the+video+platform+Zoom.+Photo+courtesy+of+Aspen+Makayla+Ramos.

Aspen Makayla Ramos (top middle) talks with friends on the video platform Zoom. Photo courtesy of Aspen Makayla Ramos.

Life is a continuous guessing game of the unforeseeable future, especially in our years as undergraduate students. We made a choice to further our education, and by doing so, experience independence for the first time. All with the expectation that college would be the best four years of our lives.

From all across the globe, 8,435 of us come to a campus of 107 acres in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a purpose. We come to Marquette with the motive to obtain success. Though, when life gives us obstacles to navigate, it’s easy to get lost and lose our sense of direction. This is especially true when that obstacle is an infectious disease that puts the world in, essentially, a global lockdown.

I transferred to Marquette this past year as a junior. I came to Marquette with the intention to achieve a sense of stability with my future endeavors, and I was ready to leave the city I grew up in. When I made the choice to move from Seattle to Milwaukee, my expectations were high on an academic scale, but low socially.

I figured transferring halfway through undergrad, it would be difficult to make friends. I made the presumption that I would only study, get a job and watch a lot of Netflix. To my surprise, my first week at Marquette I met a group of girls who would soon become my best friends and biggest support system — life’s uncertainty in the best form.

We are human; It is only natural for us to feel emotion. Though, I believe within our demographic of young college students, there is a common misconception that it is within our best interest to mask our feelings, as being emotive may come off as weak or needy. Humans are organically fabricated entirely around vehemence.

However, in my 21 years of life, I have learned that acting out when emotion is provoked can be detrimental to ourselves. When coping with grief, anger, sadness, frustration and more, those feelings never actually vanish, and they almost always derive from some form of love. It is crucial as young adults that we learn to consciously analyze our feelings, especially now when coping with the unforeseen turbulence of COVID-19.

I was never one to believe that “everything happens for a reason.” However, it took me about a week at Marquette to realize that maybe everything in fact does happen for a reason.

As most of us do, I faced some hardships growing up that led to a pessimistic outlook on life in its entirety. I was under the impression that people who seemed to have better lives than me had them because they were simply lucky. I constantly would play out different scenarios in my head with the theme of “should’ve” or “could’ve” instead of viewing my tribulations as life experiences and lessons. I lived in a constant state of the past, always reflecting with adversity. I later came to the realization that I was doing so because instead of coming to terms with my emotions, I blocked them out.

As present-day college students coping with the personal effects of COVID-19, we are feeling a whirlwind of psychological sensations — sadness, anger, frustration, regret, discouragement and more. However you may be feeling during this period of great tragedy, let it be known that you have every right to feel this way.

Three weeks ago, you were spending every waking second with your best friends, playing on the field you spent your life working toward, planning formals, enrolling in the MCAT, starting a new relationship or preparing for graduation with the expectation to have the best last semester before going into the “real world.”

Three weeks ago, we all lost something. In a blink of an eye, our college experience was put on an abrupt pause, and if you’re like me, you’re back at square one. You’re doing homework in the kitchen of your parents’ house, getting yelled at for not putting your plate in the dishwasher before you’re even done eating and making TikToks to kill time.

As cliche as it may sound, hope and love is what continues to drive us forward. When feeling discouraged, give yourself the assurance that you are here with a purpose. You can achieve anything with hard work, a good education and a hopeful attitude.

Marquette — along with our peers, administrators, coaches and professors — is waiting for us to make our return in the coming months. So remain hopeful, be kind, don’t take the little things for granted and stay in check with your mental health just as much as your physical.

Let’s be the difference, Marquette. See you soon.

This story was written by Aspen Makayla Ramos. She can be reached at aspen.ramos@marquette.edu.