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This year has been rough, to say the least, but it has undoubtedly given me perspective in certain areas of life that I didn’t really have before. 2020 has felt like an endless trial of tests just to see how society will do and trust me I have been tested, but with everything in life, I try to look at the glass half full. It feels like I have learned more this past year than I have in my entire life. With that said, here are some lessons I learned unintentionally this year that may help you get through the rest of the year while gaining some perspective.


How to find happiness through autonomy

Thinking about the early months of quarantine where I never left my bed and binged watched Glee for days on end seems like an alternate universe compared to now. In the beginning, the pandemic seemed so temporary, but as we all now know this is the new normal. If I learned anything about myself throughout quarantine, it is that I rely a lot on other people for my own personal happiness. I always knew I was an extrovert, but being in a scenario where I could not see anyone besides the people in my house really made me realize how much I hate being alone. However, this alone time provided me insight that I didn’t know I needed. I wrote down what I was grateful for pretty often which helped me cope with the stress of being alone all the while realizing staying home is not hard at all and something I adapted well to. During times of unforeseeable solitude, I began to appreciate the time I spent with myself because it allowed me to self reflect and gave me a break from the hustle and bustle routine I was already much so accustomed to.


Realizing the power of your voice 

In the midst of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement had reached a peak due to the murdering of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and several other innocent black people. People were coming together and protesting against the injustice happening towards the black community. During this time and moving forward it is crucial to amplify black voices because they are not being heard and injustices keep happening. Back in June, I heard so many people complaining about looting and expressing their exhaustion over having to listen to BLM related issues and those were the same people offended by the term ‘white privilege’. There is still so much ignorance in this world, and everyone is responsible for trying to change that. I understood really quickly that I need to voice my concerns and stand strong in my beliefs, I have always tried to call out injustice when I see it and will continue to do so. Going to protests, signing petitions, and simply having conversations about the issue was the least I can do as a white person. If you are not willing to speak up when you see an injustice happening, you are part of the problem and as a society, we need to stop staying in our comfort zones and underestimating the power of our voice.

Tomorrow is not Guaranteed

It’s a shame that it takes such tragic moments in life for me to realize how truly precious it is. While this year has been ridden with seemingly never-ending tragedy, the loss of Naya Rivera impacted me the most. What was really disturbing about the situation was how Naya’s last moments were spent; saving her kid. When I tried to imagine the situation it would bring me to tears because I couldn't even begin to imagine the fear running through Naya’s body and the panic she endured trying to save her son. I still can’t believe she’s gone, watching her on Glee, it was pretty obvious from the start that she was a vocal powerhouse and a phenomenal actress. Everyone in Naya’s life spoke so highly of her, saying she was always professional on set, she was able to turn a bad day into a good one with a single remark, and that she simply possessed magnetic energy that will forever be missed. This tragedy made me realize I never want anyone in my life not knowing how I feel about them. We need to normalize vocalizing our appreciation more because you never know what the last words you say to someone will be. Finally, in Naya’s book, Sorry Not Sorry she states, “your life doesn’t have to be perfect to be proud, in fact, I think it’s the opposite, the more imperfect your life has been the prouder you should be because it means you’ve come that much further and also probably had a lot more fun along the way.”


You have to start somewhere

With all the free time I was granted over quarantine I really wanted to pick up a new hobby. My whole life I wanted to learn how to play piano, but I could never afford lessons nor a piano. Well, a few months ago I finally decided to bite the bullet and invest in a keyboard. It is always an intimidating process starting anything new, but you are never too old and its never too late. While there wasn’t much room for a keyboard in my house I would practice on my bed and continue to practice almost every day. I have a long way to go, but I was tired of saying I always wanted to learn and decided to finally do something about it. I also decided to work on my makeup skills so I bought an eyeshadow palette and began working on some fun looks. I used to never attempt eyeshadow because I just thought I was awful at it, but in reality, I never took the time to actually perfect it. With anything in life, you have to start somewhere and even more so you have to be patient with yourself.


Positivity doesn’t always correlate to naivety

It is not always easy to stay positive, but I can say pretty confidently that I do it well. I have chosen to not stress about the small stuff and while that’s easier said than done, it is something we should all actively work towards. Throughout this pandemic, I have remained as positive as one can be because I have accepted the circumstance and I know that this will eventually end, but as of right now I have to make the most out of the situation. I think wishing for 2020 to be over is normal, but it’s also pointless because this is our reality so it’s important to find things now that make you happy and motivate you instead of picturing happiness for yourself months from now. Being surrounded by negativity all the time it’s very easy to succumb to that behavior, and positivity can easily be misconstrued as being naive and unrealistic. I try to stay hopeful for the future, while also being grateful for the things in my life currently.


I have learned so much this year I could probably write a book based on these past few months alone. I know it’s been a hard year, but we will get through this. Don’t forget to wear your masks and stay safe out there.


Thanks for reading, V


Hi, I'm Vanesa! I am currently a Communication major at Illinois State University. I'm so thrilled to be a part of the HerCampus team because writing has always been a huge passion for me and now I have an opportunity to showcase that and grow as a writer. Besides writing, I love horror movies, dramatic tv shows, and iced coffee. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them so stay tuned for more! xoxo, V
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