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Navigating the fear, challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 era

Hello, my name is David Moreno '21. Life has been a wild ride recently.

A little over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States. Everything seemed to change. In the blink of an eye, the career that I had spent over a decade building was over. As a tenured cellist with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, I had no more audiences to play for and no more paychecks to deposit.

Many of my in-person private students stopped taking lessons while the remaining were taught virtually. There were no more weddings, church services, or holiday parties to play music for, and I began running out of ways to support myself. 

Things got worse though.

Two of my great-aunts on my mother's side had contracted COVID-19 and died within 11 days of each other. My family grieved, and we supported each other throughout this unprecedented and incredibly difficult time we were all experiencing. Unfortunately, this isn't a unique story. Millions of people have lost jobs and loved ones and it's easy to cast a dark shadow over this time in our lives.

But, somehow, I just can't.

You see, a couple of months before I even heard of COVID-19, I met a girl. Despite her being allergic to my dog and me being allergic to her cat, we clicked. The two of us ended up spending the entire pandemic with each other and somewhere along the way, we fell in love.

Now, still trying to support myself and having no idea when the pandemic restrictions would be lifted or the chances of subsequent lockdowns in the future, I decided to diversify my career options and return to Texas A&M to complete my degree.

Many people are surprised to hear that a professional cellist wants to be a construction manager, but once they learn about my fascination with concrete it usually starts to make sense. I was excited to get the news of my acceptance into Texas A&M's University Studies program; and two days before my first class of the spring 2021 semester, I proposed to the woman of my dreams at the Grand Canyon. I will, unfortunately, need to leave her for five weeks this summer as I explore and eat my way through the London, England streets during my mandatory study abroad, but I will inevitably return stateside for one last semester at Texas A&M.

After finishing school, my fiancé and I plan to leave our home state of Texas to move a bit closer to the mountains of Salt Lake City. Yes, life has been a wild ride recently. There's been a lot of tragedy, fear, and uncertainty. But it is those experiences that make me so much more grateful for what I have and what the future holds.