Every year, I have a list of goals that I want to accomplish for the year–places I want to go, things I want to achieve. But 2020 was obviously a different year. I still had my list, and I still tried to do everything on it. I wanted to leave the country for the first time, so I planned two trips to Europe. I wanted to get into music school, and I did. I wanted to make new friends in college, and I did. I wanted to learn a new language, a new instrument, and a new skill, and I did all of those things. A lot of the things on my list I did not finish, for obvious reasons, and some things (like my trips) got canceled after they were just within reach. The biggest accomplishments of this year were far more than I could have imagined when the year started.
My biggest accomplishment from this year was getting through it. A version of me in a past year would have laughed at that statement, but it’s true. The hardest part about this year was not the things that I lost, like high school graduation or a real freshman year of college. The hardest part was keeping my mental health a priority, watching my family and friends struggle, and watching people all over the world lose their lives. It was watching my favorite local restaurants close for good and not being able to see family for extended periods.
The biggest lesson from 2020 for me is that you have to count your blessings. No matter how your life was going before or after the pandemic started, it is a universal fact that this year made everyone significantly more grateful. It is difficult to stay positive during times of great anguish, but the most important thing that comes out of hard times is the strength gained from what you have gone through. I feel it in my heart that things are going to be much better for everyone this year, and if we speak that into the universe, I know it will happen. So, just remember, nothing is ever really as bad as you may think. Stay positive this year, and great things will happen to you; we all just have to be patient.
Happy New Year, and welcome to our new semester! Let’s make this a great one. Stay safe, study hard, and grind out the first half of the year. You will be glad that you did.