The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.
MERCEDES, Texas (KVEO) — Dominic Seno is the valedictorian for South Texas ISD Health Professions.
Dominic has learned some invaluable life lessons in this pandemic shelter-at-home orders that started after spring break. He realizes he didn’t value his time.
He’s had the chance to slow down and reassess what’s important to him.
It’s been a welcomed break from the daily jammed schedules. He says some commitments weren’t building to his true goals.
“In the past four years, I’ve never really had the chance to take the time to breathe. It’s always been a rush to try to complete my work or try to build my healthy social life or maintain my relationships, but since this time alone, I’ve been able to think about my true passions.”
Those passions, he’s learned, are starting a new language, and he’s been researching different organizations he wants to be a part of.
He’s focusing on gratitude, and he’s learning he is capable to adapt to challenges he could never anticipate.
He sees everyday as a new opportunity to be open to what the future holds.
As everyday life continues to change, he’s seeing love growing in his community.
“Don’t be afraid to show compassion because the world always needs more compassion and everyone benefits from being kind. Although it may look difficult, now, when we look back on it, the world remembers the kindness and compassion shown in people.”
Even though this time has been full of transition and many unknowns, Dominic has found some humor through his own experience feeling like he’s in a time warp.
“Now you know not to eat all the snacks, make sure you actually try to maintain healthy physical self. The mind and body are more related than you think. Get some sleep. Make sure you have a proper sleeping schedule.
“I’m more adaptable than I give myself credit for. Given the situation, I’ve learned I can change what I believe or thought was true. I can now take this time to reflect and think maybe now that you have this time maybe you can do it. I always gave myself the excuse of ‘oh, I would do that, but just never have the time. Well, now that you have the time, why don’t you just do it.”
And as for graduation. While it’s in limbo, likely to go virtually online, he has a new appreciation for the tech-savvy world we live in.
“So much has evolved where we’re able to just graduate online. Sometimes traditions change, and although it would be nice to see each other, reminisce and hug each other one last time, we’re still going to be able to get the final stage of completion and I know other classes in other epidemics like the sars, they didn’t get that closure too. So it’s nice. We’ll get that final stage although it might be the comforts of your own bedroom.”
After he graduates, he’s attending the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in public health to become a public health analyst. He’s found extra motivation to pursue this path as he’s watched world leaders work to understand this virus.