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SMOLDER: This time of uncertainty breeds decisiveness

Every day I do this thing where I get up, walk 13 feet to my coffee maker across my house. 

As soon as the coffee is done, I down the entire glass with no milk and no sugar. I find that is the only thing that immediately wakes me up when I open my eyes at six in the morning.

Lately, I have been progressively getting up earlier and earlier. Why? Well, I used to think it was due to a deeper sense of gratitude for the sanctity of a long day. I am quickly beginning to realize it is due to the fact that when I am taking online classes, an earlier start gives me much needed time necessary to prep for the day ahead. 

Online class schedules, although not ideal, have been truly academically uninspiring to me. I find no sense or desire to listen to every word of my lectures as the professor fiddles around with the mic button. 

In addition to online classes, I find the frequent news broadcast detailing the ever inching forward apocalypse to be a healthy break from all my studies. Truly nothing brings me greater joy than thinking and observing a systemic economic, as well as health system, collapse. 

Another activity I have taken up recently would be sitting in my desk chair in my room and just staring at the ceiling. I have especially enjoyed this newfound love of mine, because one thing I truly love about my ceiling is its consistency. When it comes down to it, everything changes. Jobs, school, money and the state of quantum supremacy on the planet. 

But one thing I have personally noticed that is very consistent is that every time I walk into my room, I see a white painted ceiling sitting there in front of my face, observing every action I take, listening to every song I blast, judging humanity down below and thinking about how the world might change in the future. 

The thing is I know you, as the reader, may be thinking that I am just simply writing some stream of consciousness about how I conduct myself during these difficult times, but you are wrong. You see, there is one very important thing that ties everything together. I do not have some uplifting comment or idea about how everything is gonna get better because at the end of the day, fairytale endings are pretty great but they do not exist. 

The thing that ties together everything is that now, more than ever, during these tough times is how we change the entire way we live our lives. Now is the time to really step back and evaluate your next moves in this seemingly endless stream of random events we call life. 

Outbreaks are tough, losing jobs is horrible, spending countless hours with family is ... uh, well you get the point. But what I am saying is you can still control one thing, which is what do you do in all this. 

For some reason, my coping method in all this has been to drink black coffee and stare at the most consistent part of my house. I want to be clear though, besides these crucial parts of my day, I have been able to do so much more than I have ever thought I would get to fit into my day. I have gotten to run outside every day, I have started up some personal projects and I have gotten to do some more fun things I never thought I would have time for. 

In the end, now more than ever is a time for personal reflection and more importantly, it is a time to react, not with fear or sadness, but with decisive moves that you feel proud to own up to. 

Zachary Smolder is a School of Engineering first-year majoring in mechanical engineering. His column, "Breaker of Chains," runs on alternate Wednesdays.


*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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