As we begin to live in a "new normal" with COVID-19, it’s important to say “yes” to more events and live shows to live life to the fullest now that we have the opportunity again.
That feeling of the pieces falling back into place and life returning to a state of normalcy is a relief. But the question still remains: What is that normalcy, and how can we go out and embrace the world again? The height of the pandemic caused feelings of isolation; that’s why saying “yes” again can make us feel so alive.
After having the chance to attend not one, but two live concerts in October, I was reminded of why going to live shows is a feeling like no other. It doesn’t matter, once the music starts, whether you’re sitting next to your best friend or a complete stranger. Everyone is there to hear great music and have a good time.
I realized how grateful I was that I agreed to attend both these experiences. Even with a crowd of hundreds of people I didn’t know, there was a connection and an indescribable feeling in the air. If you’ve ever attended a concert, especially a large one, you know this feeling.
A study cited in Greater Good Magazine proved the chemicals in our brains react to music, and these chemicals are the same ones that play a part in forming a connection with someone or gaining a feeling of closeness.
Concerts and shows aren’t the only things we should be saying “yes” to this year, though. Our home teams can have a positive impact on us, as well. Our football team has more home games left to go, and both our women’s and men’s basketball teams are just getting their seasons started in Colonial Life Arena.
“Fandom connects us to other like-minded people, which satisfies our human need for belonging," writer Cory Stieg said in a CNBC article.
So, if you're a sports fan, attending our university's games bond all who attend. A bond that — win or lose — will still encourage us to cheer on. It’s what feeling like a team does for even that short amount of time — if you’re willing to say “yes” this year.
It’s understandable to be wary of agreeing to attend these large gatherings when we are slowly escaping the grasp of the pandemic. Event and game coordinators know this, too. That’s why there are safety measurements put into place to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Saying "yes" is also a responsibility to do your part and wear a mask in places that require them.
When you attend a show, you’re giving back to the artist. When you attend a game, you’re supporting your team from the stands. These events need us as much as we need them, making them a mutually beneficial experience. This is a part of the appeal.
Third-year philosophy student Blake Walker, who is a guitarist of the local grunge punk band Blew, offered the perspective of small, local artists.
“To keep the bands motivated to keep making their music, it's important for them to have live shows and audiences to perform to," Walker said.
What better reason to start going out to concerts again than encouraging your favorite band or artist to continue making the music you love?
Maybe a concert is too much or a sports game not exactly your thing, but there’s still plenty happening all over Columbia to say “yes” to. There are a range of events from art gallery tours to USC dance showcases to get everyone out of the house and back into the world.
The point is, it's easy to stay home after doing so for over a year. Before dismissing an idea or outing without a second thought, take a second and reflect on the good that could come from a “yes." College life is too short to be ruined by a pandemic for all four years. It just might be time to get out and really experience that feeling of connectivity and passion again.