And just like that, the year was already over…
I think I speak for many when I mention how this particular academic year was special, to say the least. Whether viewed positively or negatively, the uncertain times required us to remain very flexible and adaptive to what is necessary to retain the minimum of outbreaks. Besides being limited in obvious activities surrounding our social and daily life mainly, the sudden pause of the world actually steered me onto adventures and helped me create memories that perhaps wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
Personally, due to only experiencing on-campus education for a consecutive six months, I was eager to join as many social activities as I could bear. The choice of words might sound strange for some, but for the introverts upon us, I can tell you that solely the existence of these thoughts was a big step for me. The goal was to both fill and catch up with the lost time and space that came with the online environment. As a result, I started my second year of university by joining a student associations’ marketing committee and being selected into the board of IBCoMagazine as the website copy editor (hi yes, I’m the ruler of this blog ☺). And what a ride it was. I grew so much, both personally and creatively, and learned a lot from my passionate fellow board members as well as a talented team. Did it push me out of my comfort zone and stress me out a bit too much than preferred? Yes. But did it also make me flourish as a creator and editor, and teach me some valuable lessons? Heck yes.
If you ask me what the biggest takeaway has been this year, it would be learning how to embrace the subjectivity of accomplishments. Connecting back to the above wordy introduction, for some this may seem like child play or at least not a big deal, but for me it was a conscious decision of pushing my boundaries and finding that sense of community I often don’t actively seek. Because, while I still adhere to societal standards of what should be considered an ‘achievement’, 2021 has made me appreciate and view things in a slightly different light. You went out for a run after six months? Good for you. You finished that challenging course you put off for weeks? Nicely done. You started reading (again)? That’s great. You decided to explore a new cuisine? Amazing. You started watching a new series? Why not, let me know your thoughts on it. I could go on, but I think you understand the essence. It might sound like I’m lowering the bars, but I would like to ask, why do we have to raise them so high in the first place?
Having to stay inside mandatory, sometimes just getting out of bed is a quite daunting task and finding the motivation to start the day can even be trickier, especially when the tremendous amount of pressure and stress occasionally weighs you down. But then again, productive or not, you woke up, you got ready, and you lived another day. So, if there was one or more moments this year that you felt like it was all too much, I’m here to remind you that you can be proud for what you have already or soon will achieve(d). Heck, even if you don’t feel like you have achieved anything significant, be proud. Proud that you initiated something new, proud that you took the first step, and proud that you tried. One’s life is not determined or measured solely by its achievements – a statement I’m keeping close to my heart and I hope you will as well. Because you can be proud of you, me and us.
Author: Gwendolyne Cheung
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Illustrator: Ira Lizenko