It’s News Years Eve But We’re Still Stuck At Home. What To Do?

Carolyn Wang
3 min readJan 1, 2021
My tutorial on paper snowflakes for our Winter Crafts Event that we showed to attendees.

This 2020 year has been a tumultuous ride of rising COVID-19 cases, social unrest, political mayhem, remote learning, and to top it all off: unbearable isolation. I miss the normal person-to-person interaction from school that I’ve come to appreciate in hindsight, from racing to the lunch line before the garlic bread runs out to doing core workouts with my friends on the track. I miss walking into a real classroom with a room full of chatting classmates, listening to the hilarious comments that arise within literature discussions, and even taking our infamous high school finals with a teacher proctor and scratching pencils in the background.

But what’s been the most difficult of all this year is learning to cope with the fact that it may be some time before any of us return to normal. It’s blatantly clear: until every single person is vaccinated and the virus is eradicated, we have to continue to make do, even as 2021 approaches tomorrow and the closing of winter break draws near.

I personally wasn’t quite excited for this year’s winter holidays when school ended exactly two weeks ago. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t feeling in the holiday mood, or my prospects of winter break were equivalent to another two mundane weeks at home. Perhaps it was the thought of another grueling few weeks of stay-at-home mandates or rising cases that had me feeling … not my best, to say the least.

However, my gloomy mindset changed the day after winter break started, when I hosted a Winter Arts Craft event initiated by my youth commission for individuals with disabilities in our city.

You see, although I was in the subcommittee that hosted, planned, and facilitated the event, I didn’t think much about how much it would impact me. The event, which consisted of 3 winter crafts consisting of paper snowflakes, snowman garlands, and make-your-own-mittens, was one I hosted that was intended to bring a little holiday cheer and joy to other people, rather than myself. We planned extensively before by creating craft guides, custom zoom backgrounds, and videos to help the others who would join. However, although the crafts were fairly simple and I was excited to see the event come into action, I didn’t think I myself would personally feel much different coming out of it. It was just a small winter craft making session, right? Nothing special?

Boy, I was wrong.

The minute I came out of the event, I felt happier than I had for much of 2020. Even though there were less attendees than we expected, walking them through one by one through our homemade crafts and watching them show their family their beautiful winter artwork, even through a zoom screen, was more fulfilling than ever.

Only later did I realize that the feeling of seeing other people smile, even if there were only a few attendees, was really, really, really nice. A true blessing. It was then when I found out that maybe what I was missing this year with all the lockdowns was having the chance to bring joy to others. Real tangible joy where I’d be able to see others smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside. Because that’s what brought the most joy in me.

So here’s a little advice for all those of you feeling down about the new year or lonely at home in quarantine, whether you’re still in school, at work, or retired. Take a day off to help someone else. Write a card for your next door neighbor. Host a fun New Years game night with your friends and have a laugh together. I promise you, you’ll soon realize that a smile from someone else during this pandemic is worth a thousand of your own. Especially when you know you were part of what made it happen.

-XOXO swimminggoofyseal

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Carolyn Wang

CS, Stats, + PPL @ UC Berkeley. Writer, musician, triathlete, & explorer. More about me: carolynwangjy.medium.com/ae3eb5de2324