We are celebrating National Youth Week (May 1-7), in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Brampton Library’s Volunteers are inspiring connections and uncovering ways to cope. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this collection!

Pallavi Ahir: COVID-19 has created a situation where many of us have a lot of time to ourselves. My positive take from this situation is the time it has given us. We often complain about not having enough time, but now we have so much time that many of us don’t know what to do with it. I decided to use this time productively by keeping a journal, practicing my French, playing guitar and learning how to code in Python to self-reflect and continue expanding my knowledge. The most amazing thing that I did during this time was uncovering a bunch of my old poems that I’d written a few years ago. Discovering those poems inspired me to start writing again and be more imaginative in my daily life.

Fatima Ahmad: The COVID-19 quarantine made me realize that our lives revolve around us and us alone. As a society, we slowly have become detached from each other and I believe that COVID-19 has made us take a step back and take time to acknowledge the people we have become. Individually I have done a lot of self-reflecting over the quarantine and by doing so have become more organized and have been striving to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Rabia Ahmad: In Quarantine I have realized how much of a privilege every day really is. Even though at times it feels like our lives have stopped in motion, there are many things to be grateful for. During this time I learned to really think about things from other people's perspective and to check up on them. Everyone has a difficult time in their lives and it is very important for someone to be there for them. I have set goals and am making the best of quarantine. 

Hiba Ali: During this break I have learned more about art. I made a Bob Ross painting with my family. This was very fun and helped me learn more about different art techniques. This was also a great time to spend with my family! During this time at home, I realized how many things I don’t appreciate that much, such as going outside or going to school. Remember to always be grateful, positive, and safe during these times.

Ruhaim Ali: This quarantine has given me ample time to try new things and it has also given me time to be healthier and more relaxed. I believe the most amazing thing I did during this time was to reorganize my brother's room, my parent's room and the house overall.

Princess Sarah Owusu Ansah: COVID-19 really taught me how fast my reality can be altered. It deeply troubles and hurts my soul but I try to think positive, knowing that this social distancing will be lifted soon. However, even though I am far from close family, COVID-19 has helped me reconnect with certain family members virtually. It has also helped me realize which environment best suits my learning needs. That discovery is wonderful as I will be using it to benefit my education in the present and near future.

Michelle Anthony: I believe quarantine is a blessing in disguise and here's why. Instead of being unproductive all day we can take this pandemic and turn it from something negative and instead look at it from a positive aspect. As much as TikTok is addicting and you can scroll through hours and hours of videos, this is the perfect time to utilize to improve yourself as a person and accomplish things that you've always wanted to. Always make sure that you're looking to take the time to take care of yourself as I believe that self-care is the best care.

Mayilan Aransalon: I have found a new passion. With the help of Creativebug, I refined my abilities and learned new techniques. I drew creative animated characters as a hobby. It was quite fun and interesting. I learned to survive with only the necessary items. I had some time to explore about myself during the one month break. Art and reading really helped and I am thankful. Without those hobbies, I would definitely be bored. In the end, the COVID-19 outbreak had a major impact.

Ankjot Baraich: This pandemic has given me much more time to spend with my family, making us closer than before. I have tried many new things during quarantine and I found out I am a pretty good artist and baker. Even though these are hard times to get through, look at the positive side, research shows that by closing the factories in China in the past two months, the sky is almost completely clear again.

Tamanjot Baraich: I for one, call my friends every day and discuss humorous personal matters. I also pass my time creating DIY objects incorporating baskets, picture frames, and pillowcases to decorate the house. Surprisingly, this break has motivated me to become fit as well (boy oh boy, Chloe Ting workouts really kill). On a positive note though, I get to spend much more time with my family. This time has made me realize that no matter the circumstances, there is simply no treasure more beautiful than friends and family.

Khushleen Bawa: During this crisis, I had lots of time to spend with my 8-year-old brother who I rarely had time to even talk with. I learned many new things about him which made our bond even stronger. In conclusion, though COVID-19 may be a terrible crisis, it has lots of positive side effects as well.

Imandeep Bhullar: During this period, I’ve had so much quality time with my family, at home. We’ve been going on walks, playing board games, and most importantly bonding together. Most importantly, during this time, I have realized how honored we are to have such an amazing team of front line workers from grocery clerks to doctors. This uncertain time may feel endless, but it truly is an unforgettable learning experience.

Kareena Brahmbhatt: Something I learned about myself while social distancing is that I really enjoy doing makeup.This is an odd way to pass time but I have always found doing makeup and trying out new techniques really fun. Furthermore, learning how to cook is the most amazing and interesting thing I am doing while at home. I have always wanted to learn from my mom how to make some of the curries and delicious dishes she makes for me regularly.

Tanveen Chane: However, we can take our time at home to better ourselves, learn more about the world and relax. I’ve emerged myself in the world of poetry, my creative outlet. Learning how literary devices convey themes, famous poets, Shakespeare poems is what I’ve been learning about in my free time. Although our time is unfortunate, I’ve never been more interested in my creative side and branching out how I feel during this time. As the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe said, “To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary”.

Rashaun Chohan: I am able to spend more time with my family and stay healthy. As for activities, I have learned that I have a great passion for exploring different types of technologies. Being isolated in my house, I have a lot of free time, which I spend on exercising and learning new types of workouts. Hopefully this virus passes swiftly and everyone gets back to their normal lives.

Shifrah Chohan: I am fortunate enough to stay at home safely while being isolated. Recently, I have decided to take care of my health as I believe this can help me greatly, by changing my food choices and trying to do as many in-home exercises as possible. I believe what I learned about myself and others around me is that we are all caring people, we are all helping our families and friends stay as safe and healthy as possible.

Krupa Dave:  I’ve also begun to see the joy in everyday activities, and I’ve allotted more time to spend with my family. My uncle, an ICU emergency care and pulmonary doctor in the current epicenter of the pandemic (New York), has been fighting for the lives of other patients and his. All in all, It's a difficult time for everyone, and everyone is suffering in their own way. It's a tough time for everyone, but I think we, humans, can overcome this. Right now, I think its necessary to maintain our responsibilities as a responsible citizen, keep faith, and most importantly, take a deep breath. We can do this.

Dev Desai: The situation currently outside our homes is honestly scary. People are losing jobs, struggling to get their next meals, it's a worldwide pandemic keeping millions of kids out of school. This situation also gives us time to learn new things about ourselves.We also have time to try new things and the most amazing thing I've personally done is manage to play sports with whatever I can in the house, whether it's a toilet roll used as a ball or a tape roll as a hockey puck.

Sanvi Duggal: I had so many positive intakes with this.The biggest one is that your life can change in one moment. My take is from this to smile more and appreciate more.

Peri Gandhi: Just a few weeks ago, my business teacher posted an article by Bill Gates on what the coronavirus can teach us and I feel like it taught me a lot about our situation. One of the main things the article focused on was how this pandemic was bringing a sense of 'togetherness' because everyone was being affected. I've learned to adapt to new situations and I know that once all this is over, these memories will never truly leave us.

Ashni Gandhiram: When the quarantine hit,  I was waking up at 11:00am and felt like doing absolutely nothing. There was no argument to be won, there was no big test I was studying for, I was battling an emptiness I never knew existed in the first place.  Around the second week I tried to implement self-discipline in my life, I forced myself to wake up at 8:00am every morning.  Everything I had assumed about discipline was wrong, it pushed me to seek creativity, it challenged me to accomplish a goal, and it helped me grow as an individual. I've learned that, more than an 'exaggerated politeness' discipline served as a tool to measure oneself with.

Kavyah Gandhiram: During this quarantine, I've had the chance to reflect not only on myself, but also on the way I live. One thing I've especially been focused on is patience. I've had to learn patience with things out of my control, like online courses or even the food I'm eating now. Patience with my family, regarding building healthier relationships. And patience with myself and my mental well being. If there is one thing I'm thankful for during this situation, it's my new found understanding of the word patience.

Khushi Jamnadas:I have taken the time to think about the positive out outcomes around this pandemic. I have had a lot more time to spend with my family, and focus on my wellbeing. Throughout this time, I have gone deeper into exploring some of my passions and hobbies, and really practiced my drawing skills. I found this amazing as I never knew I had such potential. These may be troubled times, and that’s exactly why we must come together and face them as a team.

Hadia Katal: My positive take from this situation is that I am grateful I live in Canada. This country has been on top of most of the big priorities, for example the unemployment situation. There is a really organized and efficient system in place currently so people are not struggling completely financially. During this time, I learned that I took for granted the small but important things. Like taking a walk, going to the library or school without restrictions. The most amazing thing I did was learn more skills for cooking and playing the guitar while at home.

Harsimranjit Kaur: Whether it be from fiction stories or stories from our very own history, we have all heard of tales of times when disease swept through the land, but who would have known that those very stories would become our reality? Waking up has become a new experience for me, as I am now able to clearly hear the birds chirping through the silence of the streets. As nature heals from the years of pollution it has had to endure, I think we should take this as an opportunity to heal ourselves as well.

Manasveen Kaur: COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus or “Chinese” virus as President Trump likes to call it, has changed all of our lives completely. Pollution and global warming reduction, spending time with family and oneself, animals living freely are some of the many positive outcomes of this virus. Since the lockdown has started, reports have been published about how pollution has reduced in the last few weeks. Instead of taking this lockdown in a negative way, we can think of it as a vacation with our families at home. We should balance our lives in lockdown by spending time with our families and also ourselves.

Harnoor Kehal: I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned about the power of love. Love sparks hope, and hope sparks change. This year will bring changes to education, healthcare and every aspect of our lives. A positive of this situation is that the earth has had time to heal from the constant damage of pollution and other human activities. Furthermore, although we are isolated by distance, technology has brought us closer than ever and we are able to connect with our family, friends, peers and our teachers.

Rachel Kelly: During these unpredictable times, it’s important to maintain a positive mindset and keep ourselves occupied. I’ve managed to keep myself busy by painting my nails, cooking, working out, and doing my schoolwork. I was able to learn something new about myself, which is that I love the outdoors! Taking a moment out of my day to sit outside in the sun and listen to the birds while they sing their tunes, is truly a relaxing and enjoyable experience. By joining together and having a positive outlook on this situation, we can all aid in flattening the curve.

Mamona Khan: The first thing I've learned is that you don't really appreciate something until you lose it (quote by unknown). I'm referring to all those times I've refused to go outside. I really regret that decision now. The second and most important thing is that there is always a silver lining. It is true that coronavirus is the cause of physical distancing but it is also the cause of solidarity. "United we stand, divided we fall" (Liberty Song by John Dickinson). Afterall, we really are all in this together.

Aditi Lad: I've realized that even though being stuck indoors, and away from friend's and other families may be boring, it also has a benefit as well. Not only do you help keep COVID-19 from rising, but you get to spend more time, and bond with your families more.I was finally getting along with my younger sister, and getting a bit closer with my brother, which has probably helped this break a bit more fun.

Himanshu Laroiya: I decided I was going to draw everyday as I have a little talent in it but, I never realized how fun it was to just pick up a paint brush and a pencil and do what your heart contents. I  hope to encourage more people to just forget about the problems outside and focus on what you can achieve.

Rida Mahmood: Due to the current situation in the world, it’s really easy to think negatively, changing our mindset can really be beneficial. I think this is a great time to work on myself, meditate, spend time with family and do what I’ve always wanted to do. This is also a great time to learn something new about yourself. I never thought I could paint until I tried it, and now it’s one of my favourite hobbies.

Aayat Malik: With everything closed, from schools to shopping centres, I have had a lot of time to put to myself. I love to do art like drawing, sketching, and colouring, but recently i have put my time into learning a new media of art, watercolours! I've also spent my time learning embroidery and making simple patterns. Right now we might feel trapped but it will be over, as Albus Dumbledore once said, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Prarthana Mall: I learned about myself that I am actually an extrovert. I always thought I was an introvert but I actually found out that I am the exact opposite! I learned a new language! I learned a little bit of Spanish and it was something that I always wanted to learn! I believe that our world will come out of this situation, stronger than ever before!

Harleen Mann: I have never been so desperate to go to school and never been so frightened about the situation as a whole. The most amazing thing I have done was to create, film and edit a vlog, for Digital Arts class, for the first week of social distancing and online learning. I have never felt more proud and impressed over the quality and the content in my vlog. I realized that quarantining has helped me look after my health, to prevent my seasonal flu from worsening, and ways to develop my physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

Sophia Mateus: Staying home for the past couple of weeks has been quite the experience. I know this situation isn’t ideal, but the earth is benefitting from it anyway. Pollution has been getting better, waters are getting clearer.  I noticed that we take a lot of little things for granted. Overall, this has been a life changing experience that has taught me about all the hardworking people in the world, the importance of enjoying what we have when we have it, but also talking time to better ourselves when we can. 

Shraddha Mishra: Coronavirus has given us all time, something we rarely get. When things get better (when, not if), who knows what the future holds? Maybe we will all go back to the lives we had, or maybe things will have changed and hand-sanitizers would still be worth way more than they should be. But I know one thing for sure, I will not let my own self be a complete stranger to me. 

Nilasha Mohan: I decided to join an open-youth mic organization called StayWoke, which aims to promote social and global issues through a creative outlet [such as poetry, spoken word, music production, art, etc]. This is aimed at adolescents and young adults. I am both an ambassador and an editor, and I'm excited to contribute to such an effort! I realized that I am ambitious, and do not hesitate to let obstacles like the virus strip me of my opportunities.

Kavisha Mohanathas: For me, something that I took from this situation is that we all are working together as a team to fight this off. No one is taking sides for whose problem it is or is no one trying to use Covid-19 as an attack on other nations. I find this very helpful to many of the world’s nations today. Something I cherished during this time was spending time with my family. From all my school work and everyone just working in their separate ways, I found this time to unite and do activities that bond us more together as a family.

Aleena Mughal: Although the virus brought us to a dangerous situation and a long quarantine, we can use this time to work on new hobbies and do things we normally don’t have time for. Something I learned about myself was that it’s very hard to find motivation to do courses online from home.. The most amazing thing I did during this time was studying a new language that I’ve always wanted to.

Yasleen Multani:The most amazing thing that I learned during this period is how much the Earth has been impacted by this virus. Ever since social distancing, the air pollution has gone down by a large amount. This made me realize something. People have been fighting for the cause of global warming and climate change for decades, yet no one took the steps to change it, some people made excuses that it cannot be reversed, but now, when people are making an effort to stay inside the Earth is healing! In conclusion, although this is a terrible situation, we all need to keep our heads up and not give up hope. This is more free time than we will ever have again, and we should use it to the best of our abilities.

Niranjana N. Nambiar: COVID-19 is what scientists have named it.  We as a public have also named it as a ruthless pandemic and the cause of an unprecedented time.  With this, I feel like society’s perspective on life has indeed changed.I have improved my artistic abilities and learned how to be a lot more quality-oriented with the abundance of time I have now.  This National Youth Week, I would like to encourage you all to use the time you have to learn something new.  Rediscover yourself and be sure to put effort into all that you do! This current situation that we are experiencing is not permanent, but our dedication and passion for the things we learn at this time, let alone any time, should always be!

Karsha Nanthakumar: I have learned the importance of talking to extended family and friends every day. I have also taken this time to learn new hobbies which I never thought I would love. I believe the most amazing thing I did was spend time with family and take the time to get closer. To end this off, I would like to say thank you to the front line workers and would like to spread love to all the affected by COVID-19.

Amarachi Ndubuisi: During this period I realized that I can do and learn anything I put my mind and passion towards.I have managed to get control over my hair, fare well in the kitchen and improved my skills at digital art tenfold. These were all things that had been in my to-do list, but I never had the opportunity to fully pursue it. I’m grateful that I found some good out of this, utilizing my productivity to stay cheerful and occupied.

DiAn Nguyen: Evidently, COVID-19 is devastating to everyone because every time you look at the news, there is a new death count or report about how our economy is crashing. Nature has responded in a positive change: air pollution, noise traffic, water pollution have all been drastically reduced. When the time came, everybody did their part to flatten the curve. Whenever you are feeling down, take a look at The Happy Broadcast. It always brightens my mood! With a positive mindset, young or old, we can.

Aaliyah Osei: School has kept me occupied with assignments to study for. I have been spending more quality time with family since we don’t go out on weekends. I have been trying to stay fit by watching YouTube workout videos. I have heard that we are not going back to school next month and that worries me. I am in the 11th grade and it may or may not be possible that we may have to repeat the school year or move on. I know they are just rumours. Overall, I am just thankful to be alive to wake up to see another day.

Akanksha Panda: My family and I played many board games over the course of the three weeks and I also called my cousins in India and we talked about the “shutdown” of the two countries. Additionally, I painted a beach view on a canvas, I baked a couple of desserts over the quarantine, and I started learning to knit. Overall, there are some advantages and disadvantages, mostly disadvantages, of this whole situation, but following the rules and being safe will get us through it.

Gursimran Pannu: I learned a few things about myself. I usually find myself as a not very social person and I don’t really want to go to school because of that. But now I think of myself as a little more social than before since I want to go to school so I can talk to my friends.

Ayush Patel: Firstly, I think COVID-19 is very deadly to the older ages. Also, I am concerned about the virus because it has already been spread across the globe and it is very easy to get it. My positive take to this situation was to make sure to focus on my studies so I don’t fall behind. I learned that I am also very interested in chemistry.

Esha Patel: The COVID-19 situation is a stressful time for all, however despite all the bad there is still some good that has come from all of this. Around the world pollution and carbon emissions have decreased along with many animals returning to their natural habitats. Self isolation has given me time to take care of myself and take up new hobbies, such as baking and painting. I have also taken up learning a new language. With all that’s going on make sure to stay safe and take care of yourself and your families.

Khushboo Patel: One thing that I learned about myself was that I must improve on motivating myself as simple tasks such as getting out of bed require me to use a lot of energy. The most amazing, but shocking thing that I learned was that we took so many things for granted. I always took my privilege to walk outside whenever I wished too for granted. I now miss going outdoors very much.

Pooja Patel: To get through these times, I have been channelling my inner creator and used creative outlets such as knitting, colouring and painting to pass time. In addition to keeping my mental health up, I have been working on staying healthy by ensuring that I am staying active. I  have been working out daily and growing my passion for yoga. I’ve never done yoga, but there are many resources and tools online that have helped me start my journey and can help you start yours, too, for whatever it may be!

Ganesh Ramanathan: I personally feel as a young 15 year-old teen that this time is also useful for many positive things such as reflecting on our lives and what’s happening around the world, learning new things about ourselves, and learning new skills. Something new I learned about myself is that I’m good at adjusting to new situations. I do school work, play video games and board games, do chores around the house, and do workouts. I decided to look ahead to the upcoming year and improved my English vocabulary and learned trigonometry. Outside of studies, I also worked on my digital editing skills (video and audio) using iMovie and I think I am pretty good now!

Gurleen Rangi: Personally, I’ve learned a lot about myself in this time. I’ve learned that it was never my lack of time that stopped me from learning something new, it was simply my lack of willingness. Ironically enough, I have been appreciating nature a lot more now. Exploring my own backyard suddenly seems a lot more appealing when we aren’t allowed to go outside. I have been getting much more done than I have gotten in my whole life. Overall, it’s important to focus on the bright side of things.

Avneet K. Saini: During my March break, I learned that this isn’t just a spreading cold, it is a dangerous virus that's escalating rapidly and aggressively. It was on everyone’s lips and the news.  I learn and adapt to new knowledge, my personality traits and patterns in some of my negative thoughts in the day, through journaling and taking some online tests. This along with reading a lot of books and learning more about God and some of our Gurus through singing religious hymns was one of the most amazing things that I did during this time. 

Aqueelah Samsudeen: I've come to learn so many things about myself. I've created so many art pieces and decorations, I'm a very introverted person with many more traits and qualities, but I'm really grateful for the time that I've been given to learn new things. I've learned how to be more productive in life. That so far has been my biggest success out of this.

Arpit Sandhu: During COVID-19 we were all told to stay inside for our safety, which gave us a lot of free time to explore our passions and do something fun as a family. I learned how much I love the outdoors because I miss it a lot, although I go outside in my backyard. During this time, I made lots of paintings, such as a sunset, some tropical scenes etc. I did some gardening in my backyard and grew some vegetables.

Abhinayan Sayanthan: All this time being indoors has pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone, learn new things and most importantly, approach everything in life positivity. This has been my most significant lesson. Throughout this unprecedented crisis, my most positive take from it all is to enjoy all the time you've got with your family. Although it can be irritating at times, the coronavirus has shown us that time is limited and life can be cut short unexpectedly. So while living in close quarters with your loved ones may seem tough sometimes, enjoy it because you don't know when you're going to be gone. 

Diya Sharma: As if something had cast a shadow over our world, the shadow continued to grow and get out hand to the point where staying inside was defined as being a hero. Covid-19 is much more than a health crisis and has definitely given everyone time to reflect upon their activities. Focusing on the positive side is allowing many to understand that the root of the problem may have been how we were all taking everything for granted. I learned how with success comes patience and it has helped me to cope with the current situation and spread more love. 

Parul Sharma: Our daily routines began to shut down, our favorite hang out spots turned deserted, our friends and family members soon distanced themselves. Our lives have been impacted, some might say for the good, others might say for the bad. I personally think it's a life lesson taught by nature, to preserve what we have, with love and care. 

Mohid Siddique: Personally, I’ve used the lockdown as a chance to reorganize and finally get to reading an ever growing stack of books. The situation has also made me realize just how much I enjoyed the basic routine of going to school and having an average day with friends. It truly is the simplest thing that I paid no attention to before, that I now miss the most.

Mahekpreet Sra: As scary and upsetting this situation is, we all can take something positive away from it. “Look for something positive each day, even if some days you need to look harder.” (Unknown)

By thinking of the good, we can change our whole outlook on life, and it can help boost our self-esteem, happiness, mental health, and make other’s days a little brighter. I have learned  so many online platforms that are on the Brampton Library digital library page. I was recently introduced to Creativebug, and I enjoy looking through it to find fun crafts to do in my free time. This pandemic has really shown me the core values of hope, love, and support.

Vajran Sugunanavalan: A valuable lesson I took away from this was a video editing journey, as there will always be something more to learn, no matter how hard you work to get everything done, there will always be another challenge waiting for you. The virtue of patience and the resolve to continue to work hard is what will get you anywhere in life, whether it be in school, at home, or even in the workplace, these two things are truly the key to life. So even though Covid-19 has caused tremendous issues and terrible changes to society, it still allowed for me to truly see what life is all about, not video games, but the resolve to learn, and work hard.

Jassimran Suri: Never would I have ever thought that I would be living through a world pandemic, as some may also say, we’re living through future history lessons, crazy right? I’ve been able to improve my dancing and it’s my New Year’s resolution to learn to play the piano and ukulele, so I’ve been able to do that. I’ve also been catching up on my ‘Netflix life’. Finally, I have also learned a lot about myself. Especially about stuff like my patience level. It can get hard to deal with life at a time like this, but you have to have hope and know it’ll come to an end. Patience is really key at a time like this.

Kethusha Uthayakumar:The COVID-19 pandemic is an occurrence that has truly stolen the books of global history. Out of the blue, we are all confined within the walls of our homes, similarly to how Elsa and Anna were isolated within their castle in Disney’s Frozen. The coronavirus pandemic has evoked us all to stay home for the betterment of our civilians. I have learned to look at the positive side of things.  As stated by an unknown civilian, “When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” We should all step over the negativity, and be the sunshine to the gloomy days that prevail upon our society. With everyone’s sunshine in conjunction, it is guaranteed that our normal lives will reach back to us

Sriya Yalavarthy: Sooner or later, schools will reopen, the library will reopen. Life will eventually go back to how it was before COVID-19 drew us all into our homes. I might not have the amount of time I have now to partake in my passions, but if there’s one thing I have learned, it is that every minute is invaluable and there is so much that I can accomplish if I set my mind to it. As Michael Altshuler put it: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Now that I’ve learned this lesson, I know I am going to be the best pilot I can be, steering time in the direction I choose.

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