What COVID-19 has taught me

4 min readFeb 4, 2021
Callan on one of the hikes she took in Tahoe.

COVID-19 is something NOBODY expected. It took me and the world by surprise. When lockdown first started I had just won the LLS Greater Bay Area Student of The Year 2020 after raising nearly $60,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Callan at the Grand Finale of the 7 week Student of the Year Campaign with her younger sister, Siena.

I was just starting to make good friends at school and I was becoming more confident — I was making huge progress. At first, nobody thought it was going to be a big deal, nobody thought we were actually going to close down. Until we did. People were saying it was going to be a week or two, but then it wasn’t. I had a feeling that it was going to be longer, why would all schools transition online because of a virus for only 2 weeks? How would everything be solved in 2 weeks? Time flew by. Two weeks became 3, then a month, then two months, and then it was summer. We missed out on prom, the seniors had missed out on graduation and I had not seen any friends since March. My parents allowed me and my sister to have a small quarantine pod once things slowly started to open back up (I went back to work in June). We had a pod of 6 people who we would occasionally see. We were moving every month because our house flooded at the end of April, so we lived in different spots around California from Napa to Tahoe.

We had lived in Napa temporarily years before and living there again was the best. I got to spend time with my sister — we would run to the local market, drive the golf cart and swim All Day Long. It was amazing. I was truly happy. Our two friends came and spent the week in the same area and we got food, hung out on the golf course and played games. Then the Lake Tahoe opportunity came around and those same friends spent some time there with us. Tahoe was incredible. I was taking a UCLA business class on line, so before and after lectures I would swim in the lake, spend time with my cousins and go on walks. I had a blast. Those two places brought me the most joy. We eventually moved home in November (took long enough)! Now it is almost February and while I have learned a lot, I have missed out on senior activities I have been looking forward to since I was in middle school. I lost touch with friends I was getting close to and I have lost a lot of my motivation. I think the class of 2021 has it the worst (compared to 2020). We have lost nearly a year. While we are on the road to no prom, no “real” graduation or senior frolic, I remain hopeful that things will turn around with the vaccine being distributed. I am the class Treasurer so I’m involved in putting these events together and we have been working nonstop to figure out alternatives.

Callan on another hike in Tahoe.

While it has been tough, it has put life into perspective. Some positives that have come out of COVID are that I have started my journey to pure happiness again (I also published an article about 5 ways to become happier), which I never would have started if it wasn’t for the pandemic. COVID has made me even more grateful for things like being able to keep my job. I’m also grateful for the little things, like spending time with my family, having food on my table and a roof over my head (especially after the flood happened!). COVID has taught me not to take ANYTHING for granted. COVID has taught me to not be so hard on myself, life is tough, but I am tougher. COVID has taught me to learn from others and to meet this moment. COVID has made me more grateful because I have a platform and a voice to make change. While this pandemic has been terrible for everyone, especially the people who have lost loved ones to this virus, it has made me realize that I cannot go about my life without taking advantage of every opportunity I possibly can. I have never worked harder than I have during this pandemic, but I am grateful for that.




6th generation San Franciscan. Philanthropist. Workaholic. Entrepreneur. Doing this for fun :) more: https://linktr.ee/talicallan