Our guest blogger this week, Bella Molinari, is a 2021 graduate and our very own YES AND Marketing intern! She's reflected on what this unusual Senior Year has taught her.
As a graduate during what is now known as “the year of COVID,” it is easy for me to sit here and look at all that was lost. A shortened trip abroad, less connecting with my friends and extended family, and perhaps above all coming back to a university that felt completely unfamiliar to me for my final year. In a sense, I felt like I had been robbed of my last year of school-- the one I had always looked forward to the most. It felt unfair that my graduation year was the one that was different. However, it would also be unfair for me to ignore all that I have gained as a result of these hardships. In a sort of twisted way, a year of COVID has helped me fully recognize how fortunate I am for what I have had over my past four years at Bucknell University.
Bucknell is a very small, tight-knit community. At first, remote classes and fewer activities on campus made me feel like my school’s spark had been dulled. I found myself becoming nostalgic about what once was. I felt disconnected and knew that I needed to refocus on what senior year was really all about. Instead of feeling sorrow over all that had changed, I knew that I needed to embrace it. Adjusting to this “new normal,” took some time, and even still I will wake up for class in disbelief that I am completing my final college courses from my bedroom on Zoom (most of the time while still in my pajamas).
However, what I was able to gain from all of this was a new outlook on life. I realized the tight-knit community at Bucknell still surrounded me and time with friends became more precious to me. It was both inspiring and motivating to see how my peers were able to support one another through these times and grow alongside one another. It made me realize that as humans, we are much more similar than we may believe. We all value deep personal connections and experience universal human emotions such as the need for belonging, acceptance and to live with a sense of purpose. I now have a new perspective on who and what is important to me. I learned how to not take things for granted and how quickly things can change. Among the chaos of it all, I found I was able to find more comfort in the things that were familiar to me.
I learned a lot about myself during this transitional year and found an abundance of inner strength. I saw how my attitude toward circumstances correlated directly with the outcome. By changing my mindset to be grateful for what I have had rather than resentful over what I have lost, I have come to terms with the outcome of this past year much more easily. Life truly is a journey. Whether or not you experienced being a student during COVID, it is important to realize that life will always have obstacles. What leads to success is what one decides to do with those setbacks and how you adjust as a result.
While interning at ecofashionCORP this past year, I have also had the opportunity to be exposed to what ‘work from home’ really means. It was amazing to see companies finding ways to be innovative with their work during a time that, on the surface, seems so constricting. I, first-hand, was a part of many of
ecofashionCORP’s projects-- my friends and I were even able to be a part of a remote photoshoot surrounding YES AND’s pajama line. By leveraging the uniqueness of remote work and finding alternative solutions to typical in-person tasks, companies can show customers that they are passionate about their business.
For someone who has always loved fashion, this year also has heavily influenced the way I dress. I found myself searching for comfortable PJ sets and sweatpants instead of the usual ‘going out’ tops and jeans. Doing more from home, especially tasks as time consuming as work and school, created a surge in the need for stylish, high quality loungewear. Loungewear became my uniform-- from online class to running everyday errands, comfort was always my priority. When times are stressful, we have learned we can at least find comfort in what we wear.
What has helped me find solace in these changing times is to make the most of every situation and continue appreciating the little things in life. Girls night out turned into girls night in. I learned that date night can be made just as fun with a home cooked meal and a new recipe. I was able to spend more time focusing on myself, getting to know me. With the outbreak of COVID, I was able to recognize more than ever that self care does not mean self indulgence. By celebrating small accomplishments, I found that I had a better outlook on my everyday life.
So to my fellow 2021 graduates, cheers to you. We have gained resilience, strength and compassion during this unique year.
Thank you, Bella, for sharing your experience with us. We are so grateful that you've navigated this unusual time time alongside the rest of the YES AND team!
Whether or not you are a 2021 grad, you deserve to relax in our organic cotton sleep and loungewear! (They make great gifts, too!) Thanks for reading!