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There’s no denying that 2020 was a rough year for everyone. With a global pandemic, the loss of a beloved athlete, and a frightening election it seemed like the world was coming to an end. However, we persisted; we made it. The ball in Times Square dropped at midnight on January 1st, 2021 signaling a new year to finally begin.


That left me wondering… did anything good come out of a terribly crummy year? Did we, as society, as humans, learn anything? For me, the answer is a big, fat yes! Though it was hard to see through the dense fog of disasters that crowded the previous year, most of us can pinpoint at least one thing that the year 2020 taught us.

Live in the moment

If I learned anything last year it was to live in the moment. I was always so focused on my future that I hardly got to enjoy what and who was surrounding me in the present. We only get one chance at life. Seeing people lose loved ones on TV made me realize how important it is to cherish those you have with you in the moment and to keep making memories every day. You never know when you’ll see someone for the last time.

Hard work pays off

Another thing 2020 taught me was that hard work does not go unnoticed. Fall 2020 was one of the hardest semesters of my college career so far. I was taking my final pre-classes to get into my major: PR and Strategic Communication. I worked day and night and visited all office hours I could to make sure I got through to finally start studying what I came to Purdue for. As of today, I am officially a PR and Strategic Communication major. I ended last semester with one of the highest GPAs I’ve ever had in my lifetime. 

Be yourself

All throughout life I was always worried about what others thought about me. I was afraid people would find me odd if I looked or acted a certain way outside of what people thought as “normal.” I soon learned over the course of 2020 that there is no standard definition of “normal.” What you and I find normal could be totally different. I started dressing and acting how I wanted, as well as partaking in activities I have passions in. I slowly, but surely, began to see my mental health get better and better as I began to appreciate and love who I was.

2020 is one for the books… the history books that is. We experienced so many historical events we only ever could read about in our US history textbooks. However, as society, we conquered one of the worst years for humanity. So now, it’s so long 2020 and hello 2021.

Ava Smith

Purdue '23

Hello! My name is Ava Smith. I am a junior studying Advertising and Film Studies. I am from a suburb of Chicago called St. Charles and enjoy all the wonderful parks it has to offer. My hobbies consist of writing, filmmaking, and spontaneous adventures with friends. Currently, I am a digital coordinator and Videographer in Boiler Communication and Social Media Moguel at the Hub on State Street. This is my second year being involved in Her Campus and I am so excited about all the new memories and opportunities I will make this year and for years to come!
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