Opinion: Taking the Time to Find Ourselves


I was not expecting this.

In the midst of May I was supposed to walk in a gown and receive a certificate that honored me for my participation in the educational opportunity at Francis Lewis High School. Later I would be greeted with hugs and cheers from my family. March hit and I can’t walk out of the door, afraid of becoming a carrier of a disease. Afraid of disobeying Mayor De Blasio’s orders.     

Voice inside my head: Don’t worry Igor. This just took the insignificant materials from your life. What’s important is still beside you. And you could hug them and celebrate with them at any moment. But take this opportunity you were given right now to fix and find yourself before the clock ticks to your next challenge. 

Right. As depressing of a period in time that it is right now, with thousands falling to COVID-19, it is also a period where we can adjudicate time to our biggest flaws because we do not have to spend as much time on our school-related studies.  

I have always been a terrible reader. I misread what the problem asked on one exam and didn’t finish the reading section on the 4 or 5 SATs and AP Language Exam I took junior year. Afraid of getting another “2” stapled to my face, I avoided the workload of AP Literature, and I continued to avoid literature in general, without fear that I could receive an F in college for not reading enough.  My excuse before… I didn’t have the time. College applications and classes, even without AP Lit, cluttered my mind with too many things for me to handle.  However, now here are no excuses. There is only time, and a plethora of it. 

The first few days of the lockdown were a waste, I have to admit. My hands did not flip through pages but instead ran across the digital screen of my phone. Instagram. Safari. Madden. My mind had no focus on what was important; it just found another, this time insignificant, thing to clutter my mind with.  

Then I heard my brother say with distress, “I got him Dr. Zhivago, but he never opened it.” A bullet pierced through my heart, and I picked up that book and opened it as if that was the only way to stop the bleeding. Yes, it was then that I realized I was given time to fix myself.

Who thought reading could be so fun? Not me, that’s for sure. But now I know I was wrong for 18 years of my life, and I have to continue to explore the different realms of literature as college is right around the corner. There, life will not be easy nor cheap.     

 The transition to this is terrible, but I wanted to say one last thing: De Blasio gave us this period to stay home. It may never ever happen again and let’s pray for that. That said, while in lockdown, let’s take the time to find and build ourselves. Make a positive from a negative, because the only one who controls how great our year will be is us.