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Original photo by Isis Doss-Wassily
Mental Health

A Time To Reflect: My Highs and Lows of 2020

2020 has been one of those years that has felt immensely long and rapidly short at the same time. I don’t know about you, but part of me is finding it hard to believe that 2020 is coming to a close. So many things have happened this year, it’s kind of crazy to think about.

three girls during golden hour
Photo by Simon Maage from Unsplash

At the end of every year, I like to reflect on both the good and bad. I like to ask myself questions like: How have I grown as a person? What are some things that I still need to work on?  My reflection usually takes place in the form of highs and lows of the year. I know some people’s experience with highs and lows are sharing the highs and lows of their week on an awkward zoom call, but assessing them within yourself can be a really beneficial and enjoyable process! I wanted to share that process with you all, so here are my highs and lows as we travel through 2020!

Right off the bat, 2020 started off as a high. I was living in Hedrick Hall, going to the Westwood village for boba and Tuesday night pizookies, jamming out with my a capella group and going on midnight adventures to late-night diners and lookout spots with my friends. Academically, the quarter was tough, but being on campus with my friends made life so fun.

women holding each other
Photo by Dennis Magati from Pexels

All too soon, the notorious month of March arrived. All of a sudden, college students around the world found themselves packing up their bags and moving back home because of the COVID-19 outbreak. I can imagine that most students would agree that this was a low of 2020. I was devasted; I was having the time of my life at school, and I hated that it was being ripped away from me. Most of my friends had gone home to cities in the Bay Area and across the country, and I had no idea when I was going to see them again. I was worried that the friendships I made at UCLA wouldn’t last, and that I’d find myself alone. As you can probably tell, I wasn’t stoked to move back home; I just didn’t want to let go of the life I was living.

woman lying in white bed
Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy from Unsplash

The beginning of quarantine was also a low for me. Still angry about the quarantine, I began to shut down, distancing myself from my friends and family. The adjustment to online learning was definitely not easy, especially since we had to take our Winter Quarter finals as soon as we got home. My eating and sleeping habits were incredibly unhealthy; I was staying up as late as 5AM and would either stuff myself with junk food or not eat at all because I was studying so much. My mood swings were also extremely sharp. I would snap at my family members easily because I harbored so much resentment for the situation I was in. Looking back, I can barely recognize my old quarantine self. It was not a fun time.

However, things started to look up towards the end of Spring Quarter. I realized that this quarantine was a secret gift in disguise. My lifestyle pre-quarantine was so hectic that it was almost unhealthy. I’m so grateful that I was able to stop and get a breath of fresh air. When I came back to myself post-dark-age quarantine, I started to reach out to my friends again and was extremely pleased to see that my friendships were remaining strong. Every zoom call I hopped on made me incredibly happy, and though it seems strange since we were all so far away, I was feeling closer than ever to my friends.

Shortly after, I started doing Chloe Ting’s infamous workout programs. Usually, I am quite literally one of the laziest people alive, but I somehow found the motivation to keep up with her programs, and they made me feel really great! The programs forced me to improve my eating and sleeping habits so that I had the energy to keep up with them. As the time passed, I stopped focusing so much on losing weight and focused more on doing these workouts for my health. The less I obsessed over my weight, the healthier I felt; it was definitely a much-needed confidence boost.

person stretching outside in sun
Photo by Radu Florin from unsplash

The summer was truly a gift. I rediscovered my love for the ukulele, and with every song I learned, I felt loads of stress being released. I signed up for summer classes to get ahead, and they really paid off. I’m the type of person who’s happiest when I’m busy, so I applied for jobs as well. I know that taking summer classes and working a part-time job doesn’t sound like the most exciting summer, but I was glad to have things to help pass the time. With some extra cash in my pocket, I was able to invest more in my hair care and my wardrobe, and I’m definitely super excited about the results! I was also able to safely hang out with some friends and discover some of LA’s most beautiful hiking trails and secluded beaches. I’ve definitely come to appreciate just simply being outdoors so much more this year.

new years resolution no resolution

The high continued to the beginning of fall quarter, when I was accepted to Her Campus UCLA as a Feature Writer! I’m so grateful for this space for me to reflect, be goofy, and stay informed! I’m glad that I made the most of online schooling, and I hope that I can continue getting more involved in 2021!

Of course, with school, it’s never just a constant high. I’m carrying a heavy load this quarter, so I’ve definitely had the occasional low periods when I’ve felt burnt out. I’m grateful to my friends and family for always being there to cheer me up and motivate me until I reach a high point again. I’ve definitely approached this academic year with a much healthier mindset, which has truly done wonders for my study habits and overall performance. As we approach the end of this year, I’m glad that I have so many high points that I can reflect on, because I know that this hasn’t been the best year for everyone. I know that these wouldn’t have been possible without my low points, and I’m proud of the girl who emerged on the other side of the hardships. Looking forward to 2021, I hope that I continue to stay in touch with my friends, join new organizations and continue to be kind to myself.

I encourage you to reflect on your highs and lows! It’s a great way to measure your growth and your shortcomings. You don’t need to wait until the New Year to make good on some self-improving resolutions.

Isis is a second year (pre) Human Biology and Society major at UCLA and she is thrilled to be a Feature Writer for the Her Campus team! In her spare time you can find her at the beach, singing, playing the piano/ukulele, reading or taking long, long naps.
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