By Nadia Beidas

     We are under a difficult situation with the COVID-19 virus. Every day we see the death toll rise in alarming numbers, and the death toll once this situation has passed is estimated between 100,000 to 240,000.

     This is extremely frightening. This is the most terrifying situation most of us ever remember facing. The news coverage of the rising death toll, anguished hospital workers and government officials and families who have suffered devastating losses are heartbreaking.

     However, it is vital to keep as positive of an attitude as possible and look to the future. There will be a day we can return to normal. The question remains what the new normal will be.

     In life as a whole, there are situations and circumstances we can control, and those we cannot. This situation happens to be one we cannot control. But we are in control of our reaction.

     Some people might choose to be angry or bitter. Others might look for ways to assign blame. Some might fall into despair and anguish, and this is extremely understandable, especially for those who have suffered a personal loss.

     Once the danger of this virus passes, we will not return to the same world as we knew it. Experience changes us all. We can choose how we will deal with the changes.

     Perhaps this experience will teach us the importance of social interaction. We live in a time where most of us are attached to our phones and other devices. When we return to a new normal, perhaps we will be more social.

     I miss talking to family and friends in person. I miss talking to instructors and fellow students in person. I even miss small talk while running errands.

     I hope we all appreciate the importance of kindness and compassion. So many people are suffering right now. I hope we can help each other as best we can now while observing social distancing.

     I also hope we will all continue to assist each other as we rebuild our lives after this crisis is over.

     I believe people are also more appreciative of the lives and advantages they had prior to this pandemic. I hope people will return to prosperity soon. The economic impact of this virus is also frightening.

     With elections coming in November, people may think more seriously about the candidates they choose. Instead of worrying about smaller issues, people will likely think about healthcare and the economy. Voters will likely choose candidates who have plans to address these concerns.

     We can also choose to think of the future, and choose to be productive and plan for jobs and other opportunities. This is the time to edit the resume and look at the Handshake site for internships and jobs. This is also the time to decide on pursuing graduate studies.

     In addition, we can anticipate aspects of our daily lives that we are missing now. We can look forward to the days where we can interact with loved ones again. Remember, we can all still communicate while observing social distancing.

     From a personal standpoint, I have enjoyed several long conversations with family and friends. Sometimes, we have not had the time to talk to each other at length. We send each other pictures and videos constantly.

     My uncle sent my mother some pictures of them growing up. I had actually never seen these. One particular picture that I loved was of my mother at her high school graduation with my grandmother, who sadly passed away in 2013.

    We have all been sending pictures to each other of past trips and other gatherings we have enjoyed in the past. We do not always have time to go through old pictures, and this has been an opportunity to remember pleasant times.

     My aunts and I also send each other pictures of flowers, coffee, cakes and chocolate to make each other smile. These extras that we might not always have time for ordinarily certainly brighten my day. These little gestures essentially have the same meaning; we all love each other, stay safe and stay well.

     I pass the heart of this message on to all of you. Stay safe and well, everyone.