What 2020 taught us

2020 did not bring us much good. However, 2020 did bring immense learning, growth and reflection.

Ana Dorta

Every year, before the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight, people cling to the hope that the new year will be just a little bit better than the last. This year, we’re just hoping for the bare minimum. 

2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year for most. It reminded us that life is incredibly fragile — that in just a split second, the most drastic changes can occur. It was a year filled with loss, uncertainty and general abnormality that will forever affect the lives of everyone on this planet. 

It was also a unifying experience to some degree. Some families were brought back together and spent months on end solely in each other’s company. Other families were separated, with miles between them and utterly no way to travel. 

People were forced to cope with stress, grief and concern in isolation. There was no longer available solace in human comfort. All of a sudden, touch was taboo. Connection was solely through forms of digital media. The human race, full of inherently social creatures, was left without a means to be social. 

Personally, 2020 was without a doubt a very difficult year. I was forced to cope with unforeseen change and loss. I, as well as thousands of other people, spent weeks on end in isolation. We were all forced to experience something we are in no way accustomed to —  being alone. 

I, like many others, experienced a fluctuating wave of emotions that had the highest of crests and the lowest of troughs. I had to learn to be okay with that. To some extent, I really feel like college age students were thrust into adulthood. 

As a child, at least for a lucky child, we’re sheltered from the world’s realities. We’re not confronted with death, grief or — I would venture to say —  real emotion. Instead, we’re shielded in an effort to preserve our innocence. 

After 2020, any innocence we once had has dissipated. We learned that the world doesn’t care. The world can take from us unrelentlessly, without a second thought for the pain it is leaving in its wake. This may sound cynical, but it’s true. 

The world, however, can also give. It provides each individual with the opportunity to charter their own life. Society may put up barriers, but 2020 proved that people can destroy these barriers in the name of love and peace. 

Amidst all of the suffering and change as a result of the pandemic, we saw people across races, genders, classes and borders unite to fix the world’s evils and make it a better place for all of us. 

2020 did not bring us much good. However, 2020 did bring immense learning, growth and reflection. 

2020 taught every person invaluable lessons. It reminded us how much we, as humans, NEED people. It reminded us that if we all come together, no task is too tall and no dream is too big.  It reminded us that even the small exchanges such as greeting a cashier or waving to someone as you pass them on the street — these are the little things that make us human. These are the little moments we thrive off of. 

2020 took a lot from us. But it also gave us something. When normal life resumes and people flock to the streets, restaurants and stores, I think every person will take an extra second and appreciate the person standing next to them —  be it their parent, friend or a complete stranger.