Sandy Fleurimond, a first generation Haitian-American student at Temple University in Philadelphia, was looking forward to studying abroad during her senior year. It would be her first time out of the country, and a time when she could disconnect from all of the expectations that had been placed on her. But when the program was cancelled due to COVID-19, Sandy’s senior year took an unexpected turn.
In a diary entry from May of 2020, Sandy writes: “I’m writing this in the middle of the woods in suburban Pennsylvania. How ridiculous is it that that’s actually the least ridiculous thing to have happened this summer. Cases are still rising everywhere and it feels like this may be life forever. That thought feels too bleak so I’m writing it down and letting it go so I don’t think of it too much. I was supposed to be in London now. I can’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like. Would I be happy? Sad? Would I have regretted it? All I know is that I’m healthy, and my family is healthy, and that’s all that really matters in the end, I guess.”
In collaboration with Philly Audio Diaries, an organization that trains young people in Philadelphia to tell their own stories, Sandy reflects on the things the pandemic took away from her in such a pivotal year, but also the things she learned about herself—leading her to forge her own path in a moment of a lot of uncertainty.