Coping with COVID: Nicholas Pratt, A Lesson in Mindfulness

How are you coping with the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic? We want to hear, whether you’re a student or a member of the faculty or staff. Send your thoughts and photos to The Pulse. Visit the news page, title it "Coping with COVID," fill in your thoughts, and submit.

Nicholas Pratt, a rising third-year student in the College of Medicine, submitted the following reflection.

Ever since I took a photography course during my undergraduate education, I have dabbled in nature photography. Fortunately, even during the current pandemic, the Cleveland/Akron area affords numerous nearby destinations to safely enjoy this hobby. A recent excursion with my wife to Cuyahoga Valley National Park was especially eventful.

As we walked along the mighty Cuyahoga River, I looked at my wife in exasperation. We had been out several times over the last few weeks, during study breaks of course, searching for bald eagles. Unfortunately, up to this point, we had not had any luck. I looked at her and, in my best philosophical voice, jokingly said, “We haven’t seen one because we’ve been looking too hard. When we stop looking the eagle will present itself.” I took a deep breath, deciding to give up on the eagle search and to just enjoy the hike. Within two to three minutes, much to my dismay, we spotted an eagle across the river. This majestic creature, a symbol of our great nation, was boldly perched in careful observation of its surroundings.

As I reflect upon this experience, I realize how the mindset of the medical student is oftentimes to just push harder. Although I was joking when I made that statement to my wife, I now see its truth. When we take the time to give ourselves a break and accept our situation, what we have been looking for may have been in front of us the whole time.


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