Photo Credits: Cathy Tang / Aggie
With the start of 2021, students discuss 2020 and their hopes for the new year
Last year the headlines, events and conversations all told the same story: 2020 has been a year like no other. From N95 masks to protests to elections to new online realities, everyone adjusted to ever-evolving circumstances this year. Now at the very beginning of 2021, UC Davis students share their experiences from 2020.
Ananya Srinivas, a second-year chemical engineering major, began 2020 with an adjustment that many freshmen faced.
“My year as a whole started off on the wrong foot since I had to move out of my dorm and back into my house, making my life feel as if it was on pause,” Srinivas said via email. “However, as the year progressed, I actually became much closer to the people in my life and learned to take quarantine and all of 2020 as a blessing.”
While moving back home was an unexpected change, Srinivas found herself discovering the importance of family during the pandemic.
“Since quarantine limited talking to others, my immediate family and I started to become closer by eating dinners together again, taking our dogs on walks and just talking to each other more since we were all working from home,” Srinivas said via email.
She moved into an apartment in Davis at the start of the school year, and shared that she consequently developed a newfound sense of independence. Looking ahead to 2021, Srinivas stated that she has many hopes and resolutions for a brighter year, including the hope that the effects of the pandemic will subside.
“My new year’s resolutions are to spend less time on my phone and put more time into my hobbies like painting and learning the piano,” Srinivas said via email. “I also aim to go outside on runs more often than I currently do.”
Similar to Srinivas, Isabella Bianchi, a second-year electrical engineering major, learned the importance of connections during quarantine.
“My takeaways from 2020 are how important staying connected, paying attention and gratitude are,” Bianchi said via email. “Staying connected was vital for me to not slip […] inside myself and let the time go by unnoticed. Similarly, it was important for me to pay attention to the small things, like the leaves on the trees during a walk or a squirrel on the fence.”
After saying a sad goodbye to her roommates at the end of Winter Quarter, Bianchi moved back home and decided to take a break from school during spring quarter.
“I had two amazing roommates and we had a lot of fun together, so I miss dorm life for sure,” Bianchi said via email. “We all went through a collective grieving when we realized that Spring Quarter together […] wouldn’t happen.”
After summer, Bianchi returned back to Davis for Fall Quarter. With three out of her four housemates gone for the term, however, Bianchi found herself isolated once again.
“The house felt big and empty,” Bianchi said via email. “I spent most of my time in my room doing online classes, studying and eating food. Cooking and going on walks were my ways of ‘getting out.’ Overall, even though I wasn’t completely alone, I felt pretty lonely everywhere I lived. There just weren’t that many people to see or things to do. It could be overwhelming spending so much time with myself.”
Bianchi shared that she doesn’t have high hopes for 2021. She is unsure of when life will return to normalcy, and pointed out that the pandemic has brought a lot of issues to the forefront that will dictate future conversations. Despite reservations, Bianchi shared that she still has personal goals for the new year.
“I’m hoping to be very productive in 2021,” Bianchi said via email. “I’m motivated to catch up on school and pursue more opportunities since I feel like I lagged behind in 2020. I want to change my major, really focus on my studies, exercise at home and continue to stay connected with my friends and family. I also want to work on my mental health.”
For Marielle Allen, a second-year cognitive science major, her experiences in 2020 have caused her to be thankful for what she has.
“Making sure to make the most of your time and be thankful for whatever you do have is important,” Allen said.
Despite her overall feelings of gratitude for the good things in her life, Allen described her year as “turbulent.” After leaving the dorms in March because of COVID-19, Allen stayed in her parents’ home and remained there for the rest of the year to participate in school online.
Looking forward, she stated that 2021 will be an “introspective” year, as she believes many will realize that they want to better themselves and achieve goals related to personal growth. Additionally, Allen hopes that in the future everyone will be careful and take proper safety precautions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues into 2021.
“My main hopes are that people are cognizant and aware and concerned for others and for public health in general,” Allen said. “[I’m] hoping that all of us students get the vaccine and that overall it’s just a more positive year.”
Written by: Nora Farahdel — firstname.lastname@example.org