By Sophia Gorbounov
As the seemingly never-ending year of 2020 draws to a close, most are looking to the future, hoping 2021 brings more good news than bad. However, we often forget that pearls of goodness were sprinkled throughout these turmoil-ridden 366 days. So, without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of 10 things to thank 2020 for.
- Getting some much-needed alone time
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world and countries called for lockdowns, everyone was finally able to take a moment away from their social lives and breathe. Nothing like spending the days alone with your thoughts to remind you that you dropped all your hobbies by the age of 13. Staring at a wall has never been more interesting!
2. Spending time with family
Many of us came home for possibly the longest we’ve been there since moving out. Often we reminisce about our childhoods, and crave those carefree days. Moving back in with your parents brought just that. Suddenly, we were back to the good old days of “where are you going”, “what are you wearing”, “why is your hair like that”, and “clean your room”. Ah, the tranquilities of childhood.
3. Celebrities coming together in the name of “activism”
This year saw one of the biggest historical movements take off, with people risking their lives to march and protest together for the rights of Black people around the world. Celebrities, living in a perpetual state of FOMO, contributed their share of course. I for one felt the problems of the world dissipate upon hearing multi-millionaires sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Why donate when you can simply tweet the BLM hashtag and go back to your vast carelessness?
4. Developing new hobbies
Baking bread, arts and crafts, and intense abdominal workouts were just some of the trends seen this summer. To better oneself became the goal during the first wave of the pandemic. The sudden shutdown of the world created an immeasurable void in my heart, but surely these new flower strings on my ceiling will fill it. No? Maybe if I bake another loaf of bread? Unveil my new six-pack to my friends? Anything?
5. Learning to use a brand new technology
Of course, this list would be incomplete without mentioning Zoom. Personally, I was getting bored of seeing my friends in person, it just became too easy. I was thrilled to learn that my get togethers were now limited to 40 minute increments. I was especially fond of getting booted from meetings and social gatherings alike for no discernable reason. Thank you Zoom, for I will now be adding you to my list of LinkedIn skills and my list of words to never utter again once the pandemic is over.
6. Popularising fun new phrases
“Can you see me?” “You’re muted.” “I can’t share my screen, it won’t allow me.” These became everyone’s favourite phrases of the year. If I had graduated from high school this summer, you can bet your bottom dollar my yearbook quote would be, “You have to scroll up in the chat, I sent the link at the beginning of the meeting.”
7. Building close connections with professors
With the online semester, communication with professors increased tenfold. Emailing about confusing deadlines, even more confusing “altered” assignments, asking for extensions, and simply sending the word “help” finally allowed my professors to know me by name. Perhaps “my most confused student” is not the title I wanted, but it definitely put my name on the map.
8. Finding new ways to avoid class
Mandatory tutorial at 8:30 in the morning? No problem! Simply let your professors know that you hope they’re doing well, but unfortunately, you are in BC, and will be unable to attend due to time zone differences. Depending on which of my professors you ask, I was either in Montreal, California, Russia, or Australia.
9. Having a new get-out-of-anything card
Picture this: It’s the summer, and your friends are planning a small get together at 11. It is 10:47, you have yet to get out of bed, and frankly you still need another 4 hours of sleep. Easy solution! “I’m not sure I feel comfortable going, sorry you guys but the pandemic is freaking me out.” Now, enjoy your extra hours of sleep and moping about the house.
10. Taking a good hard look at our mental wellbeing
Past issues with mental health can pale in comparison to the crushing inability to function many of us developed this semester. This year forced many of us to really consider our mental wellbeing, and then watch it completely fall apart. I was aware of my crippling depression worsening every day, but those four assignments due at 11:59pm sure weren’t. Thank you to employers and professors alike for always reminding us to put our mental health first, then proceeding to dump 90 more things in the “to do over the weekend” pile.