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2020: The Goodbye We Need for Our Sanity

2020 is almost over, and I still can’t believe it.

For all the jokes about this year making the history books, we gotta give ourselves more credit than we get. This is the letter to say you did it. You survived a global pandemic, adjusted to a radical shift in the way we experience our “new normal”, and lived to see the end of it (fingers crossed!). From witnessing a revolutionary movement (Black Lives Matter) to surviving the anxiety of another US Election (and we thought 2016 was bad), to never making any of your live lectures because you know they’ll be recorded after 10 am anyway.

Whether you spent your quarantine binging on Netflix or picking up a Chole Ting workout, the quarantine and subsequent reliance on the digital world all amounted to a revelation for us; that sometimes we need to be grateful for the little things. If there’s anything we can take from 2020, it’s that the year was a reality check to start appreciating all the parts of socialization we took for granted before.

I miss it, too—the rush of coming out of a lecture that changes your entire life. Or catching up with your friends at Spoke before 9 am. Or rushing to a club event you were looking forward to all day. I miss feeling like a student, and not a passive one that thinks like the classes are optional (and I definitely should not be, when looking at my tuition statement).

No one deserves to go through the stress and anxiety we felt, but that doesn’t lessen the fact you’re still valid in handling it. Not enough people will tell you this, but you are allowed to have bad, unproductive days. You’re allowed to miss your friends until your heartthrobs, or feel like crying because sometimes being alone can get overwhelming. You’re allowed to grieve for the moments in your life that didn’t go the way you planned. We all may be going through this together, collectively, but you’re allowed to feel selfish when you find yourself struggling to be okay with everything.

If no one has told you this today, I’m so proud of you. I’m proud of how you’re trying to stay motivated through the burnout or handing in assignments, even if it’s a little late. I’m proud of how you got out of bed this morning or tried to take a socially distanced walk to clear your mind. You’ve made it through one whole semester already (and trust me, I don’t know how we did it). Either way, keep kicking ass!

I might not be able to guarantee that 2021 will be better, but you’ve already made it this far. You have survived a brutally bittersweet year. You have become a part of the world’s new normal, which will forever change the trajectory of how digitization and the social world will interact. This year may have taken many things from us, but our resilience, compassion, and maturity to the world they could not. No matter what happens after the last few seconds of this year trickle by, know you keep that spirit with you into the New Year.

We might not know what 2021 will be like, but you’ve already proven yourself capable of surviving the pandemic arc of your story. Knock on some wood, call your loved ones and tell them you love them, and order yourself some good King Richie’s pizza.

You deserve it.

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