Photo credit: Sarah Herrington

I have the nickname Smiley which I’ve had all my life. The reason why I’m always smiling is because of my love for music. I love to listen rock, pop, country and acoustic covers. Plus I love playing the guitar and clarinet as my hobby.

Ever since the COVID-19 period started, everyone has been stressed out, worried and even paranoid. The situation does worry me too, of course. I work full-time at Tim Hortons and need to be extra careful. I do still go out for walks daily to get my exercise and take photos for school assignments or even for fun, but I keep my distance. But none of this stops me from being my normal happy self.

With me, I continue to have have this adorable smile on my face that everyone has loved seeing through my working, high school and now college life. The reason: music.

When I was on campus before all this happened in mid-March, I would walk across the street with my guitar or clarinet and play to help release all the stress. Even if I was having a bad day in class, music would bring me my happiness.

Just by listening to music with my headphones on, I can focus on getting my assignments completed on time. When I was in high school, my teachers and friends put me on to the idea. “The way to get work done with no distractions or interruptions is to put headphones on and listen to your music,” they’d say. They were right.

I first started playing music with the clarinet and guitar in grade 9, my first year in high school. I wasn’t into art or drama and I needed an art credit to graduate. So I signed up for music band class.

That’s when I first fell in love with my musical hobby. When I played in front of people at the annual winter and spring concerts, coffee houses and even at Canada’s Wonderland, my smile got even bigger.

When I got to grade 11, I wanted the challenge of a new instrument. So I took a guitar class. I loved it even more because I’m a fast learner when I try new things.

Now, during these self-quarantine days, when I’m playing my guitar to either write songs or play covers, I can feel as relaxed, distressed and calm as I did when life was normal and I was back living in residence.