Finding the positives: What 2020 has taught me so far

29 Jul 2020
By Sonam P., Student at Aston University

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. “Happy new year,” I scream with my friends. This is going to be the best year ever!

Fast forward to July 2020... I pity that woman.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (if you have, lucky you), you’d know that 2020 hasn’t exactly been the greatest year we’ve seen in the 21st century so far. And this isn’t just down to the demands of studying for a degree.

In fact, global events alone can account for this: the Australian bushfires (remember those?), coronavirus, the tragic death of George Floyd, the locust plague in East Africa and the Yemen crisis.

It’s obvious to me that 2020 will go down in history books (hard luck to whoever has to study that exam). But even as a proud pessimist, I do believe this year has also had some positive and powerful revelations.

And these should be noted too. So, here are four positive things I’ve taken from 2020 so far.

We WILL come together when necessary

While that may sound cringy, I have to say that the past few months have been very revealing in how impactful we can be as a nation. Despite the intensity of the pandemic, millions of us stepped up and supported each other. 

Especially NHS staff and other key workers. I also want to shout out to all the final year medical students who had to graduate earlier and volunteered as a newly qualified doctor. Plus, every other key worker who risked and is still risking their lives during this pandemic. To all of you - thank you so much.

But this also includes YOU. From following the government guidelines, being patient with universities during exam season or being extra careful in keeping your flat clean and virus free, you have and continue to contribute in helping the country recover from coronavirus.

There’s been a global initiative to boost awareness of racism

Since the appalling death of George Floyd, there has been a global appeal from all races and ages to break down the barriers of racism towards black people.

Although there is still a long way to go, there has been a realisation from all races that this is a global issue. Not only that, but many people have realised that we’re part of the issue if we’re not educating ourselves or are not willing to act against racism.

I’m hopeful that our generation can carry this attitude forward and provoke productive, impactful change.

Want to learn more about this cause? Check out this list of resources.

Having a healthy relationship with yourself is VERY important 

During the past few months, the lockdown and social distancing rules have tested us mentally. While being isolated from my friends, I’ve realised just how vital and valuable it is to have a healthy relationship with yourself. And that’s why as soon as I finished my last exam, I made a list of things I wanted to do during the summer.

Remembering that our greatest freedom is how we react, instead of making a mental list of all the things I missed or was unable to do, I turned my attention to everything I could do. I kept my list simple and included things that I had wanted to give my time to, but hadn’t due to the constraints of my exams. This included reading a book, completing a puzzle and practicing tricks on my skateboard.

Going forward, I plan to follow this approach toward my wellbeing into life after lockdown.

Great memes have evolved

And on a more light-hearted note, you must admit the creativity and variety of memes that have evolved as a result of the unexpected ‘downfall’ of 2020 have been of top quality.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many more positive things that can be taken from 2020 so far. These are just a few that have stuck out to me.

If you’re feeling down because the year hasn’t been quite what you expected, I challenge you to create your own list of positive things that have come out of 2020, either globally or specifically to you.

And remember, the year isn’t over yet, so let’s give it another chance.

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I’m a business management student nearing the end of my studies. Beside loving to write in my spare time, I enjoy traveling and exploring.