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Mental Health

A Conversation About This Year With My 20-Year-Old Self

Never in a million years did I think I would be living the year I turned 20 (almost 21) as I have. No one could have predicted what happened. I guess it is pretty crazy to think that at 20 years old I have lived through a pandemic. The whole world and our lives just completely changed. And to be honest, it really did take a toll on my mental health. I lost someone I loved very deeply to COVID-19, and on top of that, my whole routine was uprooted and changed, just as everyone else’s was. It was a hard thing for my mind to fully grasp and comprehend. I truly believe that this year led me to grow up faster than I wanted. I saw things and lived through very painful times where there was a substantial amount of loss that I had to cope and deal with. I think that's what was so hard for me to understand for the longest time. Like I am only 20, why is this happening?  But then I had to tell myself that I wasn’t alone, and everyone in the world was dealing with the same pain and heartache. 

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It’s weird to think about, but somehow in the midst of this being the craziest year I have ever lived, I am grateful for it. I am grateful to be here today, writing this very article you are reading. Some people aren’t able to be here, and for that itself, I am just a more thankful person. Your twenties are meant to be the most exciting years of your life. They are meant for new beginnings, adventures, opportunities, and even making mistakes. Now, despite this year being actually pretty horrible, I still started this decade of my life just how it was meant to start. Thanks to this year, I learned new things about myself that shaped my very outlook on my future. I found simple pleasures and passions each and every day. I took the time to put myself first and prioritize what truly matters in this life. 

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So I guess all I can really say is thank you. Thank you to myself for being the person I am and handling this year the way I have. Thank you to my family and friends for being there. Thank you to Netflix for always being there. Thank you for those late night journaling sessions. Thank you to little things I used to take for granted, such as the way the sun sets differently each day. Thank you for living your first twenty years of life the way you have and thank you for appreciating and treating every day as a blessing because that is truly what it is. Here’s to 2021 and hoping my 21-year-old self is as grateful this year as she was the last.

Katie Hagearty

U Mass Amherst '22

Katie Hagearty is a senior at UMass Amherst with a major in communication disorders and minors in education and psychology. She hopes to become a speech pathologist one day and work with children. Katie has a passion and love for fashion, beauty, current events, and writing. She is eager to be involved in the Her Campus chapter at Umass as an outlet to write and reach others with her words and creativity.
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