What 2020 has taught me so far

Despite the challenges, 2020 has been full of silver linings.

The middle of June would have been graduation for a number of students, myself included. A goal that, for some, was the pinnacle of education but is no longer a traditional option. 

The goal of graduation commencements that’s zipped by in a blur and hardly left us any chance to catch our breath.

Was this quarter worth it? How much did I learn that I thought valuable, or even register, for that matter? 

Though not entirely in the academic aspect and, somehow, despite remote learning, working and pretty much everything else, I’ve found incredible value in the quarter I experienced. With the world falling apart, I’m amazed to find that I’m still hopeful for the future and thankful for this crazy spring.

2020 has seemed like a movie consisting of every genre imaginable. A movie that’s had its audience or, in this case, its participants on the edges of their seats, crying tears of every emotion imaginable, and holding their breath to see what happens next. It’s almost hard to remember the crazy half a year blur that’s already happened. 

Whether or not any student can actually remember what they’ve learned through their classes is a debatable notion but, for me, the amount I’ve learned ‘in class’ has been minor compared to what the rest of the world has taught me in these recent months.

As countless citizens of Earth have lost and continue to lose their jobs, I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue writing for The Puyallup Post. As SpaceX launched Americans into the cosmos, I remembered my childhood dreams of endless exploration and was given the proper reminder that we’re all residents of the same planet. My family has driven me insane at times, but I’m grateful to have a family who, compared to others, I consider close. 

I’ve been asleep for the past half-year, dazedly stumbling through college and life in general. This quarter was the wake-up call needed to remember that there’s a world out there, waiting to be explored. As the shock of the pandemic became the same old news, I began feeling numb. When a number of emotions took hold and dragged me on a roller coaster, reality was no longer real but surreal and I lost feeling. 

I was slapped back awake with the tragic death of George Floyd and was stung by the much-needed reminder that to be alive is to feel pain. Staring at the television in anguish and crying uncontrollably, I was reminded that, for me, it’s better to hurt than to become oblivious and indifferent to the sufferings this world goes through.

I’ll safely venture to state that the entire world is in pain right now and if COVID-19 somehow didn’t hurt someone, the recent riots, protests and unjust actions did. With so much pain, it’s easy to overlook the painful smaller things. The world seems to be jumping on two trains, both bound in the opposite directions, and, with everyone rushing to get to their own destination, the people left at the train station don’t know what they can safely do. 

I consider myself to be waiting at the train station, disagreeing with the death of anyone but not choosing to publicly protest on the streets. Even then, my inactions cause me fear of offending someone. Writing this, some reading will be offended. 

The people waiting at the train station are hurting as well, though our pain isn’t shared by the majority, so we feel a sense of caution. Our pain is all the minor things, too minute for the rest of the world to notice. So, we sit in silence, afraid of speaking too loudly and offending someone else. 

Here’s my pain, in the little percentage I make up at the train station:

I haven’t been to Mass in nearly three months. As a Roman Catholic, receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is a vital aspect of my faith. I’m heartbroken that my first time receiving It will be at my wedding, a ceremony none of my extended family or friends can currently be part of. 

Despite the pain the world and I share, and while it’s different for everyone, we’re all hurting together. This quarter has given me empathy greater than any I’ve had before. It’s shown me just how little I know about the world and its inhabitants. I thought my summer last year gave me the most patience in my life, but just when I think it’s over and I can breathe, more comes rushing at me. 

I’ve enjoyed my classes; one gave me the realization of what I subconsciously knew I wanted to professionally pursue as a career. Yet while I’ve enjoyed them, the amount learned inside academia still pales in comparison to what I’ve learned outside. 

Speaking as a control freak perfectionist, this quarter has been the proper slap in the face to remind me that I can only control my attitudes and actions. Nothing is perfect and it’s okay to be frustrated with that, so how we act in response is about the only control we’ll ever have.

I currently feel more lost than ever but at the same time, I have a new goal to aim for. As long as I act lost, forever will I be lost. Acting with resolve and having the attitude of stubborn commitment is my goal, one that will carry me through any tribulation thrown my way. I’m determined to make 2020 my best year yet, so it will be.

When I look back at the year so far, I remember all the positives: I’ll be married this year and my childhood dreams resurfaced when SpaceX launched. After struggling to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up”, I finally returned to an old hope that felt like it was welcoming me back with open arms.

Communities have continuously proven that the human race is resilient and can be a compassionate species. So, when I look back at this quarter and try to remember what I’ve learned, school feels like a dazed blip because it’s nearly impossible to put a number on the lessons the rest of the world has taught. 

This quarter has been worth it and, I believe, was the wake-up call the planet needed to realize the stupor we’d fallen into. Nobody had a clue that 2020 would look like this but now’s our chance to get up and make things right. Let’s take the lessons we’ve learned so far and carry them forward with resolve and commitment to a better future.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Kathryn Scott

What 2020 has taught me so far

by Kathryn Scott time to read: 5 min