My mom has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. She is kind, loyal, compassionate, and she loves fiercely. She is beautiful both inside and out. 

My mom has taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important lessons has been how to overcome adversity. She’s always maintained that when you are knocked down, you must get up again. Failure is okay. It is normal even. However, quitting is not. 

It is my mom that instilled the fire within me. A fire that burns deep and cannot be extinguished. The fire that I tap into when faced with adversity. It is my mom that taught me that things in life are rarely given to you. You are responsible for your own life. If you want something, you need to make it happen. As long as I can remember she has constantly repeated to me, “Elana, you need to make lemonade out of lemons.” She would never let me forget that every bad situation can also be an opportunity. 

It is my mom that taught me that I am strong, and I can do whatever I set my mind to. She taught me resilience and how to stand tall when all I wanted to do was cry. My mom showed me how to harness my fire when I most needed it. How to persevere and burn bright when life tried to smother me. 

She revealed to me that anger and sadness are normal emotions, but you must restrict how much they permeate your life. Anger when all consuming can be negative. Yet, anger when channeled properly can generate unyielding determination and fuel incredible accomplishments. Just as sadness when left to dwell on can burden and obstruct our lives. Yet, without any sadness we might not appreciate the joy. 

Life cannot be without bumps in the road, but it is how you react to these challenges that says a lot about you. 

This spring, we have all been knocked down. This pandemic has deeply affected our lives in many different ways. Yet, as a community, we have gotten right back up and fought back. We have proven we will not be stifled. 

In these times of tragedy, I have been turning to my mom’s lessons more than ever. She always told me that who you are amidst tragedy is a true sign of character. So, as I grapple with this unprecedented hardship I’ve constantly been asking myself – who do I want to be? 

In these uncertain times, as we search for our new normal, it is easy to feel lonely, anxious, furious, and desperate. These emotions are normal and valid. However, I have found it is important to center myself and look within as I try to continue on. I have been trying to take time to reflect on my privilege. Acknowledging that although there are things I have lost, my family is safe, healthy and I have a lot to appreciate. I have been cheering on my small victories and trying to be mindful and kind to myself. Ultimately, I have chosen to be gracious and hopeful in these times of hardship. I have chosen to embrace the small joys, instead of being consumed by the ocean of sadness. I have chosen to look within and use my fire to fuel me. 

It is a new season here at MUSE online, and through this incredibly hard time in which the world is looking so different, our site of creativity and positivity survives it all. We feel so blessed to have a platform that can endure these times of trial and tribulation and a team that is able to make the best out of a bad situation. As we all stay quarantined in our separate homes, scattered throughout our vast nation, it’s websites like MUSE that keep us connected. 

In this time of tragedy, we too have been asking ourselves: how will we respond? How can our website be a positive and productive part of our Queen’s community? How can we use our platform to promote kindness and compassion? 

So as we reflect on our current world, our team is putting our best foot forward, working to make lemonade out of lemons. 

Uniquely, quarantine has been a time of creativity as people find innovative ways to keep themselves occupied. Art is being used to create beautiful murals across the boarded up shops throughout Vancouver and many other Canadian cities, spreading hope during dark days. Music is being used in COVID-19 online concerts to generate money for the fight against our global enemy. Creativity is being combined with science to create new prototyped ventilators and other COVID-releated tools. All around us creativity is flourishing, and as a team of creatives, we couldn’t be happier. 

Our online team cannot wait to get started and join other creatives in continuing to spread joy, hope and love in these times of sorrow. 

We don’t know what the future holds but we do know this: MUSE is resilient. In this next year, no matter what the world throws at us, we will persevere as we harness our fires within. We will wield creativity as an illuminating force, brightening the days of Queen’s students. We will use this bad situation as an opportunity to push more boundaries and break moulds as our teams are currently restricted to online contact only. We will take our anger, fear, and sorrow and use it as fuel, as we are determined to expose beauty in an ugly time. We will overcome. We will conquer. We will thrive.



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