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A Round-Up of 2020 and my Hopes for 2021

2020; 2021

I have been doing these posts for a couple of years now and have decided that 2020 will be no different. If you haven't already seen last year's post, where I gave you a round-up of 2019 and set my hopes and dreams for 2020 (without me even having read that blog post back yet, I can almost certainly assure you that I haven't achieved any of these), you can read that post here. In these posts, I take a look back at the past year (not that we really need reminding of it, but I'm going to do it anyway) and tell you what my hopes and dreams are for the year ahead, in the hope that by putting them out to the world, I can actually try and achieve them. So, without further ado, here is my round-up for 2020 and my hopes for 2021.

A round-up of 2020:

Let's go back to January, a time where we first found out about little miss rona but had absolutely no idea how big a deal it would turn out to be. During this month, I had to hand in my first two university assignments of the year, which consisted of a group presentation and an essay. I was pretty pleased (and shocked) with myself as I managed to get a first in both of them. I feel it is also worth noting that during the group presentation (where there was myself, five others in my group, two of my tutors and we were also being RECORDED!), where I have previously done presentations I have let my anxiety get the better of me, however with this one, although I was still fairly anxious about it, my anxiety was nowhere near as bad as it had been previously, which for me is a pretty amazing achievement.

Let's skip a couple of months forward to March. This is where we all really realised the severity of corona as it made itself known here in the UK and we all went into lockdown (what a fun time that was). Many people were put on furlough or sadly became unemployed. Many things around the country, and I think most notably here is the arts industry, became completely shut down and we were all thrown into an immense period of uncertainty (and still are right now, to be honest). I, for one, was a university student, and I think the less said about how poorly us students have been treated throughout this entire thing, the better. I guess I'm quite proud of how, despite the amount of uncertainty and the fact I went through every single emotion possible from when my uni decided to stop face-to-face teaching (a week before lockdown), I still managed to just about carry on, get my act together and complete my final three assignments of the year, which were a portfolio, a group presentation (which had to turn into us doing a voiceover on a PowerPoint, which was a complete and utter NIGHTMARE) and a report. I somehow managed to get a first on all three assignments, meaning that I managed to achieve a first overall for my second year, which counts as 40% towards my final grade. I think the fact I managed to do this during a global pandemic is pretty weird and spectacular and given that I've never been someone to do well in my studies, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Once I had finished university for the year, given that we were still partially in lockdown and I really didn't want to be going anywhere, I decided to start an online British Sign Language (BSL) course. I decided to do this because I want to work with children and, regardless of this, I believe it is important for us all to know sign language and it is something I have been meaning to learn for a while now but have never previously had the time to do so. It took me about two or three months to finish it and I was doing it pretty much five days a week (apart from the odd day I missed). I still have to keep going over everything as I'm not 100% confident with it and do mess up quite often or forget the sign for certain words, however, I am getting there and hope to perfect it with a lot of practice. I also began a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) course after I finished my BSL one, however, about a month in I started university again and am only halfway through this course and plan on picking it back up again in January once my assignments are in and doing it as and when I am able to and will hopefully finish it before I start looking for a job (how scary!).

Like many people this year, I have suffered quite badly with my mental health. I've always had issues with my mental health anyway, but this year has been a year where both my anxiety and depression have shone in ways you wouldn't want them to shine. My anxiety has been quite bad because when we went into the first lockdown, I found it very easy to just stay at home as I am naturally an introvert and much prefer my own space to being out and being surrounded by a load of people. When the restrictions started to ease up a bit, I started to find myself becoming increasingly anxious because I was too scared to go outside and to have to mix with people again. I have hardly been out of the house this year at all, which is quite bad considering before lockdown I was doing so well with my anxiety and being able to be around people, but hopefully, this is something I can work on. In terms of my depression, I haven't felt as low as I have over the past few months since the beginning of 2019, which feels like a lifetime ago. I definitely think that this year my depression has been worse than my anxiety as I have been in a lot less social situations this year, which means I haven't really had that much to be anxious about apart from when I have left my house (for those of you who don't know, I have social anxiety). This has meant that there have been many days and weeks where I have barely been able to leave my bed and where in the past during my lowest moments I have at least been able to put the TV on or listen to music, this time I have literally been lying in my bed, unable to move, in silence and darkness. Given that I hate the dark and silence, this is very unusual for me. However, one thing I have taken from all of this is I have been able to recognise when I am heading into these moments and can then do things to try and not go there, such as watching my comfort TV shows, or to just stop trying to push myself to do something and to just sit and let it all pass, whether that's over the course of a few hours, days, or weeks. I definitely think that is the biggest takeaway I will take of this year as before I have never really properly had the time to figure out what this was and would continually push myself because I didn't really know what to do. I now know what to do and while this may only be practical during this year as I have been able to spend that time at home and not have to worry about having to leave the house for whatever reason, I still feel as though I am making progress and just taking things one step at a time.

My goals for the year and if I achieved them:

My first goal for this year was to achieve a 2:1 overall at university. Second year counted for 40% of my overall grade when I graduate and I can happily say that I managed to achieve a first. I had five assignments and managed to achieve a first in all of them (I got three 70's, a 75 and an 85) which was incredibly shocking for me considering in first year I got three firsts, a 2:1 and a 2:2. I think this year has been a challenging year for university students (and obviously everyone else) and the very fact I have been able to succeed this goal for the year whilst in the middle of a pandemic, where everything moved online, and I was in the middle of a mental health crisis is incredible (even if I do say so myself). I think that no matter what grade you achieved last university year and this next university year, I just want you all to know that you have done incredibly well to get through everything and should be super proud of yourself.

My second goal for this year was to lose weight. Obviously, it goes without saying, we should all be celebrating every single body type and there is nothing wrong with your weight or body shape. However, I am not happy with my weight and have managed to go on a weight loss journey. It didn't go off to a very good start at first as I was exercising but not cutting down on the food I ate so was losing very little weight. Over the last couple of months, I have been able to rectify that and have lost a bit of weight and hope to be able to continue in the right direction. Throughout this journey, I have realised that by exercising and being warier of what I eat, it isn't as much about losing weight but is more about becoming healthy and keeping my body strong. My body gives me life and in order to keep my life going, I need to keep my body healthy, which is exactly what I am doing and hope to continue to do.

My third and final goal for this year was to make some friends. I have achieved this to an extent as I feel I have been able to kind of make friends with other bloggers. However, in terms of real-life friends, I have not achieved this. I think that was to be expected this year because none of us has really been able to go to as many places as we would during a normal year. Having said that, I have definitely felt a lot less lonely this year than I did last year. I have learnt to be able to enjoy my own company and don't really feel the need to be constantly surrounded by people and feel I can go off and do things on my own (not necessarily a lot of things, but some things). I may not have been able to achieve my goal of making friends, however, I have achieved the goal of being able to be on my own and not necessarily feel lonely, which is an achievement I'd definitely rather have.

My hopes for 2021:

My first hope for 2021 is to graduate with at least a 2:1. I know I finished second year with a first and maybe I should have more faith in myself, however, based on how the year is going so far and taking the whole Covid and online learning situation into account, I feel as though a first may possibly be setting my expectations too high and that a 2:1 is (hopefully) a lot more of a reasonable achievement. Third year counts for 60% of my overall grade so even though I did really well last year, there is a very high chance that if I don't do as well this year, my overall grade will be lowered. In second semester last year, they introduced the 'no detriment' policy, which meant that if any individual grade we got in the second semester was 2% lower than our overall grade for the year, we could either repeat that assignment and that grade would be the one that counted, or the grade wouldn't be counted in the overall grade. As far as I know, they are not applying that this year, which I personally think is quite stupid as we are still in the middle of a pandemic and are probably in a worse position now in terms of our grades than we were last year. But hopefully, I'll be able to achieve a 2:1, which I will be more than happy about.

My second hope for 2021 is to find a job. As I mentioned above, I am now a third year student which means from June 2021 I will no longer be at university (obviously I will have my graduation at some point after this, although what this will look like and whether it would actually go ahead as normal or be online like it was for those who graduated in 2020 is something to deal with another time). For those of you who don't know, I am currently studying an early childhood degree, but don't have any real idea of what I want to do once I leave. I know I want to become a play therapist at some point, however, for me to do this I need to gain a bit of experience of working with children first and also need to do a masters degree (which I can assure you I am NOT looking forward to, but if being a play therapist is still what I really want to do in a few years, then obviously I will do it). I guess part of this problem is I am currently going through a problem of having a very active over-imagination and part of this over-imagination is me wanting to be a TV presenter, which I know is NEVER going to happen as I am not confident enough in front of cameras and really don't have the personality that I imagine I have in my head to be able to be entertaining enough. But back to my goal, I have some ideas of what I would like to do, however, just before the pandemic I had started work towards my level 3 qualification (which, if you didn't already know, is one of the main qualifications pretty much every job that involves working with children requires), but the pandemic made sure to put a stop to that. If anyone has any ideas of jobs that I could do that, for the time being, wouldn't require me doing an extra degree and is something I could go straight into and involves working with children, then please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section.

My third and final hope for 2021 is to just get through it. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a pretty tough year on us all, but what's amazing is that we can all say that (so far) we have got through a global pandemic. I won't lie, I have absolutely no idea what 2021 has planned for myself and all of you reading this, but I can only hope that it is at least the slightest bit better than 2020. I say this because 2021 is the first year where I literally have no idea what I'm going to be doing at the end of it. I have already mentioned that I finish university in June and after that, I have zero ideas of what I want to go on to do. 2020 has been bloody hard to say the least and my mental health has been one of the worst it has ever been, so I can only hope that I can at least somehow manage to make it through 2021, regardless of what it throws at me (and the rest of us).

So that was my round-up of 2020 and my hopes for 2021. Normally I would say that I would like to know the things you achieved this year, but I think we can all agree that after the year we've all had, the fact that you're here reading this is an achievement in itself. It doesn't matter whether you've developed a new skill or have managed to wake-up every day, the point is, you're still here, and that's the best thing ever.

As always, I am always here for you all. You can DM me on Twitter or Instagram, or you can email me. You can find all my relevant contact information in the contacts tab. No matter what it is, whether you need to offload to me, want to tell me something you have achieved, or even just want a bit of a chin-wag, I am here and I promise I will respond (something I am trying to get better at doing, but I always do my best).

Here's to 2021.

Love Beth xx

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