Gratitude shifts perspective of the new normal


Illustration by Sneha Augestine

Sarah Ordway, asst. opinions editor

Halfway through quarantine, I had a realization. I wasn’t having “good” days anymore. I was certainly having “bad” ones—ones where I had a difficult test or I had more homework than I felt like I could handle—but I didn’t feel like I had good ones either. At best, each day was devastatingly neutral . We’re obviously still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, but as people are getting vaccinated and a return to at least an extent of normalcy becomes increasingly within reach, so much has gone “back to normal”.

School is now open to those who wish to attend. Sports are back. We are starting to see some of our most important traditions, like homecoming and the Glenbrook musical again even if they don’t look exactly the same as they did a-year-and-a-half ago.

And, at risk of sounding mind-numbingly cliché, Covid-19 has made me so much more grateful.

The South community is full of so many dedicated and driven people brimming with unrelenting opportunity, and Covid-19 has only made me want to take advantage of all of it.The school spirit. The casual interactions on the way in and out of the building. All of it. There were so many things I didn’t even know that I missed.

A-year-and-a-half ago, I took it all so much for granted, but knowing how temporary it could be, it all means impossibly more than it did before. It has made me more thankful for all of the great people and things I have within my life, even out of a school or Covid-19 context.

My freshman year, I didn’t go to homecoming, mostly because I didn’t feel a particular inclination to attend. I went to one Glenbrook musical. I never went to a Variety Show. If I wore blue and gold on a Friday, it was probably just a coincidence.

But this year, when the homecoming game was scheduled, I didn’t even think twice about going. It wasn’t something that I was begrudgingly putting on my calendar. It was something that I looked forward to, that I planned an outfit for, and that made me sad when it was over. I can’t wait to watch the Addam’s Family and tell all of the actors and crew what a great job they did.

Covid-19 has brought out plenty of unwanted adversity. Sending my saliva sealed in a Ziplock bag to the school was never something I previously got a chance to put on my bucket list. It has made me so much more genuinely appreciative of every part of the Glenbrook community. Every single part of it.

Appreciate the incredibly small things that you didn’t even realize that you were missing. Everything is temporary, not solely under the parameters of Covid-19.

Embrace the incredibly strong community around you. Whether you’re an upperclassman or underclassman, join a new club or activity. You never know who you’ll meet or what passion you might find. Whether you’ve been in the building for a few years or a few days, it is important not to forget what makes our community so strong.

The Glenbrook community is truly such a unique one, and it should not have taken me a global pandemic to see that to such a full extent. On days where I previously would have put on the same old sweatshirt, I find myself wearing some of my nicest jeans and sweaters. For events that I previously opted out of without thinking twice. I find myself marking my calendar and participating in the chatter and excitement.

Covid-19 has been and continues to be completely devastating, for many people to a far, far greater extent than anything I experienced, but at the very least, it helped me see my community for what it is: incredibly meaningful. When I arrived home a few weeks ago, my mom asked me how my day was. I told her that I played kickball in gym, did a graded discussion in history, took notes in math, and started a new book in French. And, all of it was truly incredible.

It wasn’t a “bad” day or a “neutral” day. It was a spectacular one.  And the kind that I have learned to appreciate far more often.