Wow, what a year. I started year 11, survived remote learning AGAIN, finished my mocks and now I’m writing a blog each month for Push. I find that this time of year is perfect for reflection and thinking about new beginnings and so I’ve decided to share a few of my closing thoughts on 2021.
We are resilient
Humans are pretty strong creatures – we've survived for about 200,000 years so I think this is evidence enough – but this year in particular has reminded me about just how special we are. For the first time in my life, I was old enough to simultaneously witness, understand and live through a global crisis.
At times I got a bit worried or felt lonely and experiencing lockdown for a second time wasn’t exactly exciting but I emerged much stronger and more thoughtful as a result. I even noticed a change in my friends and peers; everyone had experienced and overcome their own challenges. We all seemed more focused in class and mindful of each other. On a personal level, I felt more confident and motivated, pushing myself to try new things. This was because having time alone showed me the importance of putting yourself into a new environment and getting out of your comfort zone. It also provided me with the chance to look inward, leading to thoughtfulness and mindfulness. Being able to get the better of a difficult situation inspired myself and my friends to act with more integrity and resilience.
Remembering how we persevered through hard times is an incredibly important and rewarding experience. So, as you celebrate the start of the new year, take some time to celebrate yourself and all your achievements.
Compassion makes all the difference
One kind action is enough to make someone’s day.
Just think back to when a stranger smiled at you, or gave you a compliment or when a friend consoled you when you were upset, or when your parents gave you that big hug. I remember feeling down one day in particular: someone offered to hold the door open for me and I felt enormously grateful. Had it slammed shut in my face or had I seen them rush off - my day may have been worsened. This simple action made a big difference to how I felt.
Kindness is invaluable so it doesn’t matter how big or how small the actions we make are – what matters is the effect they have on someone. The pandemic is something that we couldn’t control; it changed our lives. How we spent time together, how often we could go outside, how the healthcare system worked and how education and schooling was approached. While we aren’t able to control everything, we can control how we act and we can make conscious efforts to try and positively impact others.
This year has been difficult for a lot of people and reflecting might be hard or even painful for some. So, next time you have the chance: say good morning to the person who walks past you, be someone’s shoulder to cry on, do something kind.
It is FREEZING
It seemed like it was only yesterday that I was lazing about in the park on a hazy summer’s day. Currently, it is [frankly put] absolutely freezing. Let this be a reminder to wrap up warm and wear as many layers as you can. I made the mistake of leaving my beanie at home a few days ago. My ears felt like they’d drop off. Not very fun.
Many of us are lucky – we have heating, warm clothes and hot meals to comfort us through the coldest winter days. When I was out and didn’t have my hat, I couldn’t help but think about those less fortunate than myself. There are people who don’t have access to basic necessities. There are people who are alone. As the year approaches its end why not finish it off by helping someone. I plan to volunteer at a soup kitchen but you may want to donate to a charity or buy someone a hot drink. As I said before, small actions can make a world of difference, so it's simply about doing what you can.
For the incoming year I’ve made a short list of things I’m looking forward to and want to achieve:
Wishing everyone a happy end to the year and a positive start to the next one.
Tiffany Igharoro is a student in Y11 preparing to take her GCSE's next year. One of her favourite pastimes is writing as it helps her organise her thoughts creatively and dynamically. She has won awards and prizes for poetry, academic and scientific writing and short stories. Recently, she won a nationwide historical essay competition that opened her eyes to the importance of how things are told, and the impact ordinary people have on the world. She is studying art GCSE and believes there is something incredible about finding links between drama, art and maths.
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