Looking back on this year, it is undeniable that people now are living through historical moments that will be recognized generation after generation. University of Arizona students look back now, reflecting on the impact 2020 had on their lives.
A multitude of students have come to realize and understand more about themselves and their mental health during 2020, making it one of the most common points of growth throughout the year.
Jade Salmon is a senior of the honors college at the UA and has noticed immense personal growth since the start of January.
“This year has taught me that not only is it okay to have free time, but it’s necessary. I used to think being busy full-time made me a good student and person but having to stay home and tone down my schedule has been amazing for my mental health,” said Salmon in an email. “I’ve gotten to delve into my hobbies, nap, and just relax without feeling guilty. I’m on the best terms I’ve ever been with myself, despite 2020 being a very messy year.”
This year has brought upon much introspection as mental health and self-awareness have been the most prominent areas of progress students have recounted throughout the year.
Wendy Waltrip, a UA student studying creative writing, discussed her 2020 growth and how she now understands more about herself and her mental health than last year.
“2020 taught me that it’s okay not to be available to everyone 24/7 and that I need to take time for myself. I learned that I was wearing myself out by constantly replying to messages on social media and email and that that isn’t healthy for my mental health. I now know to take breaks when I need them and that I can be much more open about my mental health with others,” Waltrip said in an email. “I started going to therapy this year for my anxiety, and that was one of the best decisions I made all year because I feel like I’m much more relaxed and myself now. Basically, I learned to put myself and my mental health first.”
Destiny Ruiz is a communication major at UA, who understands the importance of mental health and creating a space for herself where she can prioritize it.
“For me it’s the year for not apologizing and having boundaries with everyone. Including family," Ruiz said in an email.
Ruiz went on to illuminate how the year brought about new beginnings for her and her sexuality.
“I also came out a year ago and so 2020 was seriously the first year I was able to be myself and not feel like I had to tiptoe around people," Ruiz said.
Asia Raymor, a UA student studying criminal justice, has had her share of hardships during 2020 and discusses the lessons she has learned over the course of the year.
“2020 has taught me that it’s okay to ask for and receive help. With a year full of struggle, it’s been very eye-opening to see how we are all so similar when it comes to mental health, finances, etc. and those who have the resources and capacity to give help, they are more than willing to,” Raymor said in an email. “I’ve learned that it’s not embarrassing to reach out when you’re feeling down — people appreciate it and it also lifts a weight off of your shoulders when done.”
The most important lessons are taught during times of hardship and 2020 has provided the world with a multitude of struggles. Despite the pain it has brought, it is incredible to see how UA students are making what they can of a challenging year, acknowledging their growth as they work to improve the state of the world.
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