What has the year 2020 taught me?

The year has been different, and it has required everyone to adapt. During all the difficulties and challenges, we take care of each other.

Writer´s golden retriever is sleeping in front of a laptop

The year 2020 will remain in the history books due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have all been able to adapt to a whole new kind of normal, which includes a reduction in social contacts, the use of a mask in public places, adherence to safety distances, hand washing, a coughing and sneezing pattern, and various other activities. A very exceptional year has also taught me a lot personally (more than the security measures mentioned above), and here I share with you Alma’s own top 3+1: what has the year 2020 taught me?

1. It is OK to stop sometimes

Before the pandemic and the standby law, I lived the busiest time of my life. I have always been an extrovert, and I hate being at home. An active social life, hard work, and furious completion of courses have been the things I (including hobbies) fill my week with. Often to the extent that I don’t have free time at all.

My life has been like this since 2014. At some point in my pleasant everyday life, pressure was starting to build, and it was impossible to say no, even though I was tired. Being distracted also became a problem when things started to accumulate so much that I didn’t even remember what had to be taken care of and when.

When Corona reached Finland and the emergency law was enacted, my workplace also began to lay off staff, including me. The end of work, the transition to distance learning, and the decline in social opportunities, meant that suddenly I was forced to stay in my little home.

At first there was shock, restlessness, and in the end, within weeks, I realized that the idea of ​​being at home was no longer anxious. Quite the contrary; I learned to enjoy not always having to experience guilt if I had a real day off. It was helpful to note that organizing as well as remembering meetings was successful even without a calendar.

2. Being together with people you love is very important

Before, I always had to take a deep sigh if I had to go on a trip with my family to meet distant relatives I had last seen when I was a baby. The kind that I didn’t even remember meeting (you know those relatives for sure). Now, I haven’t seen my relatives in three years or so, and I almost miss the feeling of embarrassment when somebody remembers something about you as a child. 

I also began to appreciate my friends and family in a totally different way compared to the past. Today, the only coffee moment of the week with a friend has taken on a whole new meaning. My mind no longer wanders around other things, at least not so much, but I genuinely want to focus all my attention on the moment I’m in.

3. Working as a teacher for your own life is the most difficult profession in the world

I think I’m not the only one who has struggled with a lack of motivation, especially during distance learning. I had to have several serious discussions to myself of studying on weekdays and not watching Netflix or sleep. Distance learning has challenged me to learn from the materials myself, as not all teachers have provided zoom or teams lectures.

The quality of education has deteriorated for some courses, but it has also been great to see how some teachers have used creativity and been able to apply distance lectures as inclusive as possible for students. In this case, I spared myself from a few tears of despair or from bribing and extorting myself.

As a lightening bonus like this, and not quite the top 3 “doctrine”

4. I no longer skip student events

Okay let’s face it, I’ll probably forget this doctrine many more times, especially on days when nothing is amusing, but let this be an ode to the importance of student events. Whether it’s an outdoor or indoor event, day or night, those are part of my student time memories that have played a big role in enabling grouping.

The year has been different, and it has required everyone to adapt. During all the difficulties and challenges, we take care of each other. Remember to call your grandparents, don’t risk the health of those at risk with visits right now, soon we’ll hopefully get to hug them too. Stay healthy and protect ourselves and each other by following the guidelines. Finally, the probably most used but really truthful phrase of the year is “we will survive”.

Holiday Greetings, Alma Niemelä

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