How to Cope With Disappointment

Angie Leung, Copy Editor

From school closure to quarantine and lockdown, this pandemic has unexpectedly propelled us into an era of disappointment, to a level that has not been reached since the release of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” As seniors who were looking forward to their final year at Presentation, we experienced this blunt disappointment at the forefront. 

The “shelter-in-place” order has prompted us to juggle canceled senior events and extracurriculars with a surplus of freed-up time. Unable to celebrate college acceptances with friends in-person, we are confined within our rooms, and worse, need to overcome college rejections relying solely on self-reassurance as we read the letter six feet away from others.  

Despite our momentary confusion and disappointment over these circumstances, maintaining positivity is not a suggestion, but rather a necessity. While the pandemic is definitely not a gift, it is an opportunity to reflect on our mindsets. 

Disappointment serves to wake you up, not shut you down. It allows us to view the unexpected and uncomfortable as a test of flexibility — a useful skill that will come to your advantage in the ever-changing future. Flex your internal locus of control and demonstrate willpower to make use of the current situation, whether by establishing a new workout routine or developing healthier eating habits. An event like this pandemic will be recorded as a single instance in history books, but a skill with practice can last a lifetime. 

Lockdown may be a stark contrast from your “normal” reality, but view this experience as the eye-widening chance to sense exactly what you value. What you miss is what interests you and what drives you. On the other hand, if you feel relieved of your “normal” habits, perhaps lockdown is your long-awaited time to discard the unnecessary baggage that has been straining you without your conscious awareness or your courage to admit it. Plus, social distancing makes a valid reason to sever toxic relationships. 

On a similar note, the lack of senior events and traditions may seem like a depressing end to our high school years, but it again allows us to evaluate what we miss: the experience with our friends and significant other, or spending an exorbitant amount of money on a dress to look at cars for a night? Instead of mourning over a canceled event, the outcomes of which you will never learn, cherish what you have experienced — the gift of four years with the ones you love. To give a metaphor, the receiver of a gift does not care about the fancy ribbon as much as she does the gift. 

You cannot miss what you do not know. As a senior who received two college waitlist decisions in the span of half an hour, I understand: College rejections feel like an affront to your numerous hours poured into self-expression, creativity and long contemplations over trivial matters such as word choice. You, however, can never realize the outcomes of your expectations, regardless of how many Dr. Strange-like imaginations of possibilities you construct. Therefore, do not evaluate your viable options while clouded with this disappointment. 

During lockdown, take time to reflect and set your priorities. Before the school closed, I hustled myself through the daily grind of schoolwork, pushing for only the next day or week. (“My future only extends ’til tomorrow,” I would say.) But after school closed, my health collapsed the next week and I became sick, swallowing countless milliliters of NyQuil and Robotussin and half-heartedly completing classwork for the following weeks. 

While it was not the worst case scenario, it was mentally exhausting, especially with the added mulling over the consequences of being Chinese and sick simultaneously during such a panic-driven time. The lesson: Health is not a one-day assignment you can complete and discard from memory, but a priority that requires long-term habit building (so wash your hands!). 

Enter this new period with a positive mindset, and you will see how fruitful your decisions become.