Michigan State Senior Finds Serenity During COVID-19 Uncertainty

Nov 12, 2020

Cierra Chapman, an MSU senior, decided to look inward during the past few months, focusing on health, exercise and calm.

In the era of COVID-19 while the world was shutting down, others were rising up. Cierra Chapman, a Michigan State University senior, created a new opportunity to transform herself physically and mentally during the pandemic.

It all began for Chapman, 21, in the first few weeks of the lockdown. Having no connection with the exterior world, classes being forced to a virtual setting and losing her job — she took the time alone as an opportunity to self-reflect about what was going on in the world and, more importantly, the turmoil within herself.

Credit Cierra Chapman

"More of the issues that you would put off, when life was 'normal,' came to your face during this pandemic,” said Chapman. “You couldn't turn away from it, you had to face it — you have no choice but to do things that are better for yourself."

With a revitalized mindset, Chapman took initiative in bettering her body and physical health. Daily three-to-four mile runs became routine as well as a change in her diet — this consisted of incorporating more raw fruits and vegetables into her daily diet, more water intake and limiting herself from empty-calorie foods.

"It's good to have a clean mind and clean body from putting the proper nutrients in both,” said Chapman.

The correlation between mental health and physical activity has been extensively researched by Marc Harris, Ph.D. and researcher at Cardiff Metropolitan University. In a study conducted in 2018 by Harris, it was determined, “This study provides further support for the relationship between physical activity and mental wellbeing and highlights the substantial differences in mental wellbeing between the least and most active individuals.” 

"Your health is wealth and that has to do with your physical and mental health,” said Chapman. "You have to help yourself not only physically, but mentally as well.”

Along with the new workout and diet regimen Chapman has incorporated into her life under the pandemic, yoga has also been a new tool for self-improvement. This new tool has granted Chapman a way to create a healthy symbiosis of mind and body.

"I started doing yoga in the day,” said Chapman. “It helped set the tone for my day, loosen up and lubricate the bones. With yoga, I'm bringing myself peace and I'm bringing mental clarity to myself."

Chapman, a double-major in Media and Information and Advertising Management, now is in her final two semesters at MSU, and finds herself at a crucial transition of her life. Being a college student in today’s climate is more tough than ever before. Many students are facing new challenges and difficulties unlike in year’s past. Remote classes take away authentic connections to colleagues and professors and regular, day-to-day life has also become difficult.

"You have this battlefield in your mind waging everyday,” said Chapman. "Even though there's this big pandemic, there's more to life than what we're facing right now. It's not going away any time soon, so why not make the situation work for you."

Cierra has remained consistent with her newfound approach to life and overall lifestyle. 

Credit Cierra Chapman

“I know I’m better because I’m in a completely different headspace now then the beginning of the pandemic,” said Chapman. “What I had to overcome no longer has an impact on me anymore.”

Despite all of what’s going on in the world, Chapman continues to echo the voice of hope and light that the rest of the world can resonate with.

"You know what, things are bad but you're still here,” said Chapman, “You're still alive and you still have an opportunity to make things better for yourself — things are different but make them work for you in your favor."