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It is crazy to think that this year is already coming to an end; it was just March, right? From a global pandemic, to a worldwide movement for racial justice, to the presidential election, the world changed in many ways in 2020. Through all the ups and downs that this year held, it was a time of adjustment and transformation. Here is a list of 20 things we probably all learned in 2020: 

No one is immune to a pandemic

The rapid and intense spread of COVID-19 caused a global pandemic that no one could avoid. Whether you were personally affected by COVID-19, know someone who was affected, had your business shut down, had school put on hold, became an essential worker, and much more, it is apparent that everyone was affected by the pandemic in some way. 

You cannot control everything life throws at you, but you can control how you react to it

Life is unpredictable and it does not always go our way, but our attitude towards what happens can make the biggest difference.

If you think something is important, speak up

This also goes along the lines of, “We cannot stay silent about the things that matter.” Never underestimate the power of your thoughts and voice, especially when we come together to speak up. 

Racial injustices have always been a problem 

Just because something is not always in the headlines, does not mean it is not happening. The Black Lives Matter movement might have been the beginning of a fight for racial justice in 2020, but the problem did not start this year. Racial injustice has been ingrained in our systems for centuries.

Change is necessary and possible

We get comfortable with how our lives are, but life is also about evolving and adapting. Change but might seem scary, but it is also important. Never underestimate the power change has.

Our country is more divided than we thought

The 2020 presidential election was close to almost the very end and it showed us many things, including giving us insight on how divided our nation really is.

It is important to participate in democracy

All we can say is voting is important and can make an actual difference.

Actual impact of human activity on the environment

Global pollution decreased as industries were shut down due to the pandemic. https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/environmental-impacts-of-covid-19 Los Angeles experienced the best air quality it has had in over 40 years, carbon monoxide levels in New York City dropped nearly in half, and the canals in Italy were so clear you could see fish.

Times of isolation show you more of what you have

Being socially distanced and isolated for a majority of this year probably taught many of us many different things, but perhaps one surprising thing it showed us is how much we actually have instead of what was taken away. 

Essential workers are heroes

Doctors and nurses are heroes. First-responders are heroes. Grocery store workers are heroes. Transit workers are heroes. Mail people and delivery drivers are heroes. All essential workers are our heroes. They kept everything going while we were all safe at home, and we couldn’t have done it without them.

We can learn so much from people with disabilities

COVID-19 changed many of our lives, and it took a lot of adapting for many of us. People living with physical disabilities have to constantly adapt to figure out how to do certain things that many of us take for granted such as grocery shopping and finding the right medical supplies. We can also learn a lot about patience and uncontrollable situations.

Always support small businesses 

Small businesses stepped up throughout the pandemic to provide us with things like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, masks, food, and so much more when other chain stores ran out. They give so much to our communities, and many did not let a global shutdown stop them from providing for us.

Spend more time with the people you love

Never take for granted family and friends and make an effort to spend quality time with them; it is time you won’t get back.

Taking care of yourself should be a priority 

Physical and mental health is extremely important and it is okay to put yourself first sometimes.

Everyone's productivity looks different 

Productivity cannot be universally measured, and it is okay to not be as productive during a pandemic.

What zoom is 

And how much we either really like or really hate it.

Online work and school takes time to adjust to

Working and learning online might not have been as easy as we thought it would be, but that’s okay. We are all still learning and adjusting.

What six feet actually looks like 

The CDC recommends that individuals stay six feet apart as a guideline in attempting to stop the spread of COVID-19, but understanding what six feet actually looks like might have been surprising to some. For example, six feet is about three arm spans, two grocery store carts, or one bathtub.

Embrace your creativity 

Quarantine gave us all a lot of time to explore our creative sides. Whether it was painting, sewing, baking, making tik toks, etc., these creative hobbies shouldn't be left in 2020. The world needs more creativity and it can actually be very de-stressing. 

Accepting that life may never go back to “normal,” but that’s ok

This year has been a time of reflection and the lives we saw as “normal” may never be the same again. Yes, we may have to get used to working from home, social gatherings looking different, and wearing a mask, but there are certain changes that have happened this year that were necessary for our society: awareness of racial disparity, health care access, importance of leadership in government, and more. While we wish some things could go back to how they were, important social movements were some of the good to come out of this year and we cannot leave them in 2020. Life may never be “normal” again, but maybe in some cases our idea of “normal” needed some adjustments.

Gillian is a fourth-year at Cal Poly SLO. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. Gillian is the social media director and writer for Cal Poly Her Campus this year. She enjoys writing about sustainable fashion, social media trends, and activism. Even though she is planning a career in psychology, she loves being a part of Her Campus because it allows her to have a creative outlet and continue her passion for writing.
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