Alumni Voice


“What I have learned from Covid-19”

Anoulack Chanthakhat

Project Coordinator

Covid-19 changed my lifestyle immensely, and I believe that I am not the only one. When it first started, I was in the United States as an exchange student. With the increasing spread of covid, classes got canceled, many things have changed. The classes were held online and some people found it difficult to concentrate and commit. I learned to push myself to stay committed and self-motivated to get things done. There was a time when I did not want to do anything because all the news, media, and loads of information just flooded in at the same time and disturb my mental health. Getting things done was harder. I learned to set small goals for myself and decorated my room with positive affirmations to encourage myself.

The campus became quieter. People started to travel back to their homes instead of living on campus. The operating time of facilities were limited and less accessible. I still remember the feeling of how things just switch from a lively campus to an empty campus in just a blink of an eye, it was slowly decreased from less than 100 people to between 50 and 30. All the plans I had prepared fell through, even doing grocery shopping is hard enough. I lost many good opportunities due to Covid-19. For instance, travel to other places, doing community work, or getting to meet friends. As a foreigner living abroad, I had to battle with worrying thoughts about my family back home. However, one thing that I have learned during these stressful times is “Mindfulness” – to practice how to live in the present, learning how to not dwell on what-ifs, stop trying to predict what will come next or to worry about something that is not happening yet. Most importantly, to not blame others for this incident/pandemic. Practicing mindfulness eased my burdens, even now. I learned to live in the present time, doing my best as well as learning how to be beneficial to society by protecting myself first. My experiences did not sound great. However, it cannot compare to others who are suffering from loss and pain.

I believe we all hate Covid-19 because of what it brings to our lives. However, I am certain that Covid-19 does teach us something. To me, Covid-19 taught me not to be heedful, everything could happen. It strengthens empathy skills to everyone – I saw lots of help from people everywhere around the world. For instance, fundraising campaigns for people in need, fundraising to buy equipment and tools for all frontline’s workers and hospitals. Covid taught me to (try to) be flexible, to learn and try something new that I never thought of. Something that used to work before the pandemic might not work anymore during the pandemic or after. It is crucial to stay open-minded and learn to adapt. Besides, for some people, it was a great opportunity for them to realize their talents, what they are good at. We cannot control or predict what is going to happen. In reverse, we can learn to live with it and, the only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. If Covid-19 never occurred, I would still be enjoying life, take life and things for granted. I would not realize what is vital in life. I would not get a chance to seriously live with myself, analyze and understand my thoughts, would not earnestly think about the question of “What if I die tomorrow, what I would regret not doing”. Covid-19 is a great time to reflect on oneself. How we live our lives, the way we treat and connect to others, or even ourselves.

Now, I am back in my home country safely. I have graduated from the university and I am now working as a project leader of a project about education and career counseling, providing information, and connecting youths to mentors, especially youth who lives in other provinces, who have no one to talk to or discuss with.  Mentors will provide insight information about each career or major of study, for youth to make well-informed decisions of what they want to pursue or how can they achieve their goals. Counseling is one thing that I am passionate about because I dreamt to be a certified clinical social worker. I believe this is a good start for me. By doing this project, I will get to apply what I have learned in the university to real life, I also get to learn more about the processes of doing it from experienced mentors as well, I will get to provide basic counseling as well.  Clinical Social Workers are a new concept in Laos. However, it is important and how it can impact the community in a significant and meaningful way. In conclusion, we should not be looking forward to living lives like before or back when the Covid did not happen but, we should and must live our lives better in a meaningful way by learning from what this pandemic has taught us.



私たちは皆、Covid-19が私たちの生活にもたらすもののために、Covid-19を憎んでいると思います。しかし、私はCovid-19が何かを教えてくれると確信しています。私には、Covid-19は慎重になりすぎないということを教えてくれました。どんなことでも起こる可能性があります。Covid-19は誰に対しても共感力を強化してくれます – 私は世界中の至る所で多くの人々が支援の手を差し伸べるのを目にしました。例えば、困っている人のための募金活動や、最前線で働くすべての人や病院のための機器や道具を購入するための募金活動などです。Covid-19は、柔軟性を持つこと(持つように努力すること)、学習すること、自分では考えもしなかったような新しいことに挑戦することを教えてくれました。パンデミック前にはうまくいっていたことが、パンデミック中やパンデミック後にはうまくいかなくなるかもしれません。常にオープンマインドでいて、適応する術を学ぶことが重要なのです。また、一部の人にとっては、自分の才能や得意なことに気づく絶好の機会でもありました。私たちは、起こることをコントロールしたり、予測したりすることはできません。逆に言えば、我々は起こってしまったことと共存することを学べます。唯一の本当の失敗は、「やってみないこと」であり、成功の尺度は、失敗にどう対処するかで測ることができます。もしCovid-19が起こらなかったら、私は今でも人生を楽しみ、日々の生活や物事を当たり前のように受け止めていたでしょう。人生で大切なことに気づくこともなかったでしょう。自分と真剣に向き合い、自分の考えを分析し、理解し、「もし明日死んだら、何をしなかったことを後悔するだろうか」を真剣に考える機会もなかったでしょう。Covid-19は、自分自身を振り返る絶好の機会です。自分の生き方、他人との接し方、つながり方、そして自分自身についても振り返ってみましょう。

さて、無事に母国に帰ってきました。私は大学を卒業し、現在、教育・キャリアカウンセリングに関するプロジェクトのプロジェクトリーダーとして、情報を提供し、メンター(助言者)と若者を繋ぐ活動をしています。 特に、他県に住んでいて、話したり相談したりする相手がいない若者をメンターに繋ぐことに力を入れています。メンターは、若者が追求したいこと及び、目標達成の方法について十分な情報を得た上で決断できるように、それぞれのキャリアや専攻分野についての洞察力のある情報を提供します。臨床社会福祉士になることを夢見ていたので、カウンセリングにはとても情熱を注いでいます。このプロジェクトは私にとって良いスタートになると思っています。このプロジェクトでは、大学で学んだことを実際の生活で応用できます。また、経験豊富なメンターからプロセスを学ぶことができますし、基本的なカウンセリングも行えるようになります。 臨床社会福祉士はラオスでは新しい職業です。しかし、臨床福祉士は重要であり、コミュニティに大きな意味のある影響を与えることができるのです。


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