The COVID-19 pandemic has effected us all in many ways. There were a lot of downs, but there were some ups. We asked our social media assistant, Kailey, how she has grown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Describe the ways you have grown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Think about things you have been able to do that you wouldn’t have ordinarily, ways you have overcome personal struggles, etc.)
I think I’ve definitely had more time to do things for me during the pandemic. When the pandemic started, I was in my senior year of college and also working my job at an audiobook company. I had to start doing school virtually, which was definitely an adjustment, and my job also closed down so I was out of work and I had to figure out unemployment. I had all this time to myself that I had never had before because I had been so used to school and work taking up most of my time.
Honestly in the beginning I fell into a really deep depression and I wasn’t really getting out of bed or eating. I had been using the go go go lifestyle where I filled my time with work and school to kind of not be alone with myself. Distraction was my way of (not) dealing with my depression and anxiety so when I couldn’t go to work or school, I crumbled.
Eventually, I told myself that had to stop letting myself stay in bed and that I had to start eating. I have no idea how long the unhealthy habits actually went on, but I know I was just in a really dark place. Finally, I forced myself to leave the house to go for a hike (because doing outdoor things was actually within reach during the pandemic). After that first hike, I got really into hiking and I was going out pretty much every single day with my camera. My photography has really gotten better because I’ve had time to actually do it. I got really into long exposure shots of waterfalls so at one point I was hitting all of the waterfalls in Connecticut.
Later, I got really into bird photography because bird watching was something I could do from the comfort of home. I ended up investing in a super telephoto lens to photograph birds. I am now known as a crazy bird lady and known for my bird photos. I’ve joined more bird Facebook groups than I can count and it’s my way of connecting with people who also enjoy birds as well as learning from the others that are in the groups.
Another new thing I started doing during the pandemic was actually starting to cook. Cooking was something that I just never had the time or energy to do before (I was lucky my boyfriend would have meals ready for me when I would get home from work and school). I love looking for recipes online to try and I also love the Tasty app.
As far as school went, I really was doing the bare minimum and I was spending a lot of my time outside and hiking. Sometimes I would have to set rules for myself like “you can’t go for a hike until you do your audio project for the week” and of course I was doing all of my assignments at the very last minute despite having all the time in the world because I wasn’t working. Finishing up that semester was definitely rough.
In terms of work, I was so stressed out about not having a job because obviously I had bills. In the beginning, unemployment and stimulus checks were very backed up so in my mind, that just was not something that I could rely on. I had been reselling clothes since 2015 very casually, but since I was really stressed about money, I decided to try and do it more seriously to support myself while I waited for unemployment to come through. I invested in a class that taught the ins and outs of selling on Poshmark and I was actually able to support myself that way and sell a lot of clothes I had listed for years just by learning how to make them more searchable with the course. It was the most I had ever made with selling clothes and that’s still something I am doing to this day.
My job I had been working at the audiobook company ended up never opening again. It was really hard for me to accept because they had offered me a full-time position that I was supposed to start once I graduated college. It was devastating and I was stressed out about having to find a post grad job in this super weird pandemic world where so many people had already lost jobs and in a world where so many businesses are closing. I was extremely discouraged. I applied for an insane amount of jobs and I just got nothing. After not hearing back on anything, I gave up. I ended up working staying working my mom, which I had been doing VERY part-time through college. I upped my hours working on her blog to make it viable for a main income. In February, I was hired to be Turning Point CT’s social media assistant. I hadn’t applied to a job in at least half a year, but the job really spoke to me and I went for it, which for me was a huge deal because I really just had so little confidence in myself in terms of finding a job that wasn’t with my mom. I couldn’t be happier that I went for it because I am so happy with what I’m doing.
What are you still learning?
I’m still learning how to adjust to being at home all the time and having a super flexible schedule. It’s so easy for me to tell myself, it’s nice out today you can put off your work today and catch up tomorrow, but obviously, sometimes work needs to be the priority. I’m still learning to find balance, which is something that I’ve always struggled with. At least pre-pandemic, I had structure because of work and school, those alone kept me on a schedule. The problem before though was the schedule I had was so jammed packed I left no time for myself. Sometimes I feel like I am trying to play catch up with myself because everything used to be about work or school for me so that’s why I want to do things for myself and get outside just because I actually have the freedom to do that and the time. I just really need to be better about balance. I need to find a better balance of work and play.
This post was an excerpt from our spring newsletter. For more content about growing through what we go through, check out the newsletter!