As this year comes to a close, I can’t help but think of how this year turned out versus how I expected. I have been dreaming of high school for as long as I can remember. As you can imagine, a pandemic never made its way into my dreams. However, that is a situation that I, like many of you, am in. When reviewing all of the things I felt as though I had lost during the pandemic: my 8th grade dance; exploring Brazil; and hanging out with friends, I realized I have lost a lot. On the other hand,I have also gained a lot. The extra time has allowed me to pursue several hobbies I didn’t know I enjoyed. I started learning to bake. Now baking is one of my favorite things to do when I feel stressed. I also planted a garden and now I love watching it grow. I’ve learned how to manage my own schedule and that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. I’ve spent a lot more time with my family and I’ve come to learn what wonderful people they all are. Finally, I have learned not to let my elementary school expectations drive my happiness. I encourage you all, as this year comes to a close, not to only think about what you have lost through the pandemic, but also think about what you have gained. After all happiness is a choice – a choice for you to make.