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2020 has been a year of obstacles – one after the other, no end in sight. The experiences we faced this year have shaped us into completely different people; whether that’s good or bad, it depends on the person.

For me, I think this year has shaped me into a more mature, professional adult. The experiences and hardships I’ve encountered this year have made me stronger and prepared for anything that comes my way.

At the beginning of the year (seems so long ago), I was getting my life together – I was getting ready to apply for summer internships, and I was excelling in my classes. Not even a week later, the entire world shut down. The opportunities I had lined up in the upcoming months were suddenly taken away from me. This was hard to deal with. I had so much to look forward to, but then it was all gone in an instant.

Transitioning to a virtual college experience sucked. I went to community college for my first two years of college then I transferred to Monmouth for the 2019-2020 school year. I worked the entire time I went to Brookdale Community College, so Monmouth was going to be my time to explore college the right way; however, that didn’t happen.

I struggled for the first few months of the pandemic lockdown – I felt hopeless and so sad all the time. What made this time even more difficult was my dog, Daisy, unfortunately passing away at the beginning of April. It was devastating to lose my best friend, but I know she is watching over me and knows how much I miss her every day.

Turning 21 during a lockdown was pretty tough as well – there wasn’t much to do other than sit in my house, but my family made it one of the best birthdays I have ever had. I am so grateful for them and their dedication to make it such a wonderful day. I learned a lot from this birthday, including that the littlest things make me incredibly happy.

As the year comes to an end, I realize how much personal growth I’ve experienced this year. I suffer from both generalized and social anxiety, but I have been forced to push myself and lessen my nerves. For example, the pandemic has forced me to attend appointments by myself. In April, I had to go to an emergency eye doctor appointment by myself – at the height of the virus, I was nervous. However, I survived the trip and felt proud of myself for going through that on my own. In July, I had to go to my dentist appointment by myself as well - I know, at 21, I should’ve been doing this on my own for a while. Everyone does things differently, but I know from now on, I will be going to things on my own. In a sense, these instances have allowed me to mature and develop into an adult.

Also, with my entire senior year taking place online, I have found myself to be less stressed during the semester. I have achieved efficient time-management skills that keep me 3-4 days ahead in each of my classes. I think being home and having so much time on my hands this year forced me to be productive, and I am so grateful for that.

Since I could no longer participate in a summer internship, I was forced to look for placements that take place during Spring 2021 which also my last semester of college. For two months, I searched and applied for internships all on my own. I didn’t have any help, which was horrible. In the middle of November, I finally landed an internship in an industry I am extremely interested in. Overall, this experience taught me a lot. I learned how to handle rejection, keep my head held high, and never give up. I truly believe this experience has changed me the most – I did doubt myself at times, but for the majority of the period, I remained optimistic.

Each of these experiences makes me feel like I can tackle anything in the future. From sadness to growth to success, I have faced it all this year. 2021, watch out – I’m coming for you, and I’m ready for whatever you throw at me!

Allison is 21 years old and currently a senior at Monmouth University. She is an English major and hopes to enter a career in digital content writing or social media marketing. She loves all things pop culture - tv shows, movies, music, beauty, and more!
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