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These are 12 things I learned in 2020:

1. How to cook

At 19 years old, I finally learned how to cook for myself after moving out of the dorms and into an apartment — a skill I should’ve learned probably before living on my own but still better late than never. 

2. The comfort of live streams

I can honestly say that live streams got me through quarantine, mainly BTS going live nearly every night just to offer comfort, All Time Low going live at least weekly when promoting their album and even more recently O2L reuniting after 6 years to do a livestream for charity.

3. A new language

During the peak of quarantine, I started self-teaching Korean and just finished Korean 101. Six or so months later, I’m still not very good, but it's a process.

4. How to start (and run) a small business

Also, during the peak of quarantine, I actually got back into crafting so much that I actually started a small Etsy shop that did really well over the summer! I ended up closing down when it was time to go back to school, but I learned a lot that I wouldn't have learned in a classroom.

5. How to be more tech savvy

Something I also still suck at, but with everything being online I learned a few new tricks and even how to do breakout rooms in zoom after a stressful hour or so of trying to figure it out.

6. The World of K-Pop and K-Dramas

Before learning Korean, I also got really into K-Pop (mainly BTS and BlackPink) and few K-Dramas, and it was so refreshing to be surrounded by something completely new and different.

7. How to plan events (in person and virtually)

I joined the events team at my chapter of Her Campus around November of 2019 and ended up being the head of the team at the start of 2020 without any prior experience with something quite like this. By now, I am confident in my abilities and amazed with how far I’ve come this year with my growth through Her Campus alone.

8. Pen Pals

Being in a pandemic, I found having a few pen pals offered a deeper level of connection than anything else. I made the most out of this situation and learned about my love for stationary as well as my love for sending and receiving letters.

9. (Some) people just suck

This isn’t something we’re all just now realizing, but it became more clear that some people really don’t care about anyone but themselves, whether it be strangers on the internet or people you used to be close with, some people, especially anti-maskers, just suck.

10. That TikTok wasn’t just videos of people lip syncing

Closer to the end of 2020, I finally caved in and downloaded TikTok (much like everyone else like me who thought it was still just about lip syncing).

11. That online classes suck

Much like everyone else, the beginning of quarantine felt almost like a break, but then it kept on and we had a full semester of online classes. And now, we have yet another semester online. Safety is always a priority, but I think most of us can collectively agree that online learning is difficult and even our total dependency of electronics and the internet these days couldn’t prepare me for this.

12. A lot about myself, others, and the world

This year taught me a lot. Without the pandemic, I still would’ve learned to cook and still would’ve discovered a few new things here and there like finally deciding on what will (hopefully!) be my major and my minors. Without the pandemic, I wouldn’t have learned what normal really was or questioned normality this much. I wouldn’t have learned to adapt to extreme conditions or what it felt like to have a break. I also wouldn’t have learned what too much of a break felt like. This year was terrible, but I have a lot to show for in personal growth and my perspective has been forever changed.

 A year from now, there will be a new normal, new life lessons, new finals to cry over, but we can’t deny that 2020, as awful as it was, taught us a lot.

Kaytlyn is a Senior at MSU majoring in Marketing and minoring in Creative Writing. She has been a published journalist and writer for over 5 years. Kaytlyn is currently the Chapter President and Campus Correspondent for HCMSU as well as being involved in the Campus Trendsetters program and Internship Credit program. You can reach her by email through khmg2001@gmail.com or gannonk3@msu.edu.
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