My friend Zach (@mdmotivator) posted this poll on his Instagram yesterday: "Describe 2020 using a few words?" My response: roller coaster.
When 2020 began, I was sophomore premed student struggling through Organic Chemistry and Physics. My academic, social, and general anxiety were at an all-time high, and I was thoroughly lost. In March, I had a full on panic attack. It was around this time that students across the country were being sent home because of the threat of a viral pandemic; we all know how that turned out.
Being sent home was a blessing for me. I needed a break from the pressures and lifestyle of college life. I divulged my struggles with my parents and began therapy. Over the next 8 weeks, I made immense progress. I was starting to get a handle of what anxiety and OCD was and how I could manage it. During this time, I also began my spiritual journey. My dad introduced me to Sadhguru, an Indian mystic that has touched the lives of close to a billion people across the world. His life mission is to spread technologies for inner well being across the world. If you are interested in learning more, I have linked an introductory video at the bottom of this post.
I am almost certain that I would not have started therapy and my spiritual journey if the pandemic did not happen.
Another product of the quarantine was my social media platform. After being sent home from college, boredom quickly set in. My summer internships were cancelled, and I did not have anything to do. One of my best friends is a social media influencer, and he encouraged me to try TikTok out. Eight months later, I have over 100K followers on TikTok, over 10K followers on Instagram, have sponsored 3 $1,000 scholarships in my name, been featured on Complex News and TikTok's "LearnOnTikTok initiative", and have a part-time job with a start up company. The success of this project has even lead me to take a gap year before I apply to medical school! Once again, this certainly would not have happened if the pandemic and ensuing quarantine did not occur.
During all this personal and work success, millions of people were dying across the world, partly due to inept leadership and a lack of civic responsibility. If you want to read more about my thoughts on the pandemic, check out this article: https://blf.osu.edu/blog/finding-hope-amongst-the-chaos-nikhil-desai/
As we move into 2021, my only goal this year is to experience life for what it is. Rather than setting goals for my GPA this semester, followers on social media, or annual income, my aim is to live happily and appreciate all that I value.
Because 2020 has taught us that anything and anyone can be taken from the grip of your hands at a moments notice.