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Happy 2021, collegiates! I’m not going to waste space with a sob story of how sucky 2020 was. We all experienced the dumpster fire that was last year, and we all survived! We are stronger, more resilient and wiser than we were a year ago. 

 

Instead of dwelling on the past, I am excited to look forward to a better, brighter future. One of my favorite parts of the new year is choosing a word of the year. My word of the year is like a resolution, but less restrictive. It signifies how I want to live my life throughout the year.

 

My 2020 word of the year, in all of its stunning irony, was “action.” In what ended up being one of the most inactive years in recent memory, I wanted to force myself to put my dreams and desires into action. I wanted my (sometimes lofty) goals to come to fruition, and while some of them did, many of my big plans were completely derailed by the pandemic and other 2020 happenings. 

 

As I reflect on my year, I am incredibly proud of myself for surviving the year from hell (and you should be proud of yourself, too), and I was even able to take action to support causes that are near and dear to my heart. Heck, I voted in my first presidential election (and I voted for the winning candidate, yay!). As much as I possibly could, I lived my 2020 by taking action and turning my dreams into realities. 

 

For 2021, I wanted to choose a word that focuses on my interactions with others, as well as the ways I treat myself. I have decided to focus my year on the word “presence.” I want to be fully present in all of the small moments that make up life. For most of 2020, the everyday luxuries of life were stripped away, and all we were left with were the small moments. I have learned that the small, seemingly insignificant moments are what truly make life special and worth living. 

 

I am so blessed with incredible humans in my life, so I owe it to my amazing friends and family to cherish every moment I get to spend with them by being fully present. 

 

I also want to work on being completely present when I am spending time alone. This may sound strange, but I have a tendency to fill my free time with responsibilities and work. Instead, I want to focus on taking time to be present with myself and working to become the very best version of myself. 

 

With any luck, 2021 is going to be a year of love, experiences, accomplishments and life changes. Through it all, I hope to remain present and grounded in the moments I love with the people I love. Here’s to a happy new year! 

 

Anna is currently a senior at UMKC studying Health Sciences and Public Health, with a goal of working in the nonprofit world. Anna's passion is advocating for people living with chronic illnesses through her work with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. In her free time, Anna can be found obsessing over Panic! at the Disco and Queen while drinking coffee and watching romantic comedies or listening to podcasts.
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