Smith: Honest lessons learned while living through 2020

The year has been full of the unexpected. Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith reflects on some of the lessons she has learned through the pandemic and 2020 so far.

Sage Smith

COVID-19 can’t seem to get out of my mind. I guess that’s better than it being in my system.

The pandemic is the majority of what we hear about, read about, talk about, think about, etc. And everyone has deemed 2020 as a very bad year.

I try to think of unique topics for these columns, but I’m at a loss. Instead of solely focusing on the bad of the year, I wanted to write about what I’ve learned since the world turned upside down in March — and since the year began.

I went through a rough patch in life in December and January, but the world started to look a little brighter as the spring 2020 semester began and we got into February.

A new person showed up in my life, I was working on applying to be editor-in-chief and I was spending more time with myself.

Then, information about the new coronavirus took over news outlets and became the main topic of conversation. We were sent home for three weeks, which turned into the rest of the semester.

Online school overwhelmed me, and May came around, and that new person left me heartbroken. I spent my summer in Carroll for my internship with the Carroll Times Herald (which was so wonderful), but it left me with a lot of time to process the recent events of the world.

So what have I learned?

  • I learned I very much value — and miss — hugging people.
  • I really like painting. I’m not an artist in that sense, but covering a canvas with a sunshine yellow is oddly calming.
  • I can be too trusting of others and need to be more patient and a little less hesitant to speak what I need from people.
  • I really like the color blue.
  • I love going on long walks and talking to my best friend on the phone while doing so. (Shout out to Emma.)
  • I want to focus more on my state of mindfulness.
  • Writing letters I’ll never send is so therapeutic; I highly recommend people try this. If you’re worried about wanting to send them, burn them.

Enough about me. My point is that while this pandemic is scary and has presented a lot of changes to our day-to-day schedules, there is good to be found.

I’m not one who says or believes “everything happens for a reason,” but everything happens, so we might as well dig deep and learn from it.

On social media, everyone seems to have set opinions on how they feel about how the pandemic has changed our lives, the reported cases in Iowa and how the university is responding to COVID-19 on campus. I have my opinions, but at the same time… I’m torn.

So I’m choosing to reflect on the lessons I’ve experienced while living through the pandemic, and, honestly, through all of 2020. I’d rather grow from my struggles and continue to move forward than sit still and sulk.

What have you discovered about yourself in the past eight months? Find me on Twitter, @heysagesmith, or email me — [email protected] — maybe we can learn from each other.