2020 - A recap

We’ve made it through this troublesome year. I’m writing this post being extremely tired after weeks of simultaneously working on applications, proposals, and my science, while taking care of our two-year old during repeated daycare closures with my great husband, and—oh yes, there was Christmas, which meant a lot of organization, preparation, baking, cooking, and finally enjoyable family time. At times, this situation seems to be representative of this year. But still, looking back to these months, I do see some things on the bright side. My new years resolutions? Take what I learned in this year and continue to grow from this challenge! So here’s my list about positive things I take from 2020!

  1. We learned to value community. This year, we had to refrain from what we probably love most: being with others. What can be good about that? To me, it feels like social fasting. Pre-Covid, it sometimes felt like a duty to pay someone a visit. After months of stay-at-home orders, we might feel a deeper desire to visit friends and relatives.

  2. We learned to value technology. Being far away from the rest of our family and not being able to travel for almost a year now, I’m incredibly grateful that I can still get in touch with others easily. Be that phone calls with my grandparents, Skype calls with my family, or job interviews or group meetings via Zoom. We tend to complain about the software when it doesn’t work (and rightfully so ;-)!) but I’m so thankful that I do have these opportunities.

  3. We learned to value science. The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come: efficient vaccines have been developed, approved, and administered. But not only vaccines are a great accomplishment of science. The fact that we quickly have tests available (which allowed a few lucky ones to travel during the summer) has probably been the most important tool in fighting the pandemic (Yay for polymerase chain reaction). None of this would have been possible without research that is being conducted on a daily basis by passionate scientists.

  4. Peer review ensures quality in research. Following how the scientific community uncovered knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, I would like to note how important the mechanism is that ensures the quality and correctness of information. This peer-review process can feel very painful to the researcher whose work is under review (there are also very positive experiences, but these tend to be rare). But this year showed me how important it is that results are reviewed by fellow researchers. For me this means that I will try to be less offended by criticism keeping in mind that this is how quality is ensured. So please, don’t believe in something that someone posted on YouTube (unless they provide a reliable source)!

  5. We’ve been reminded of what really matters. “Cause we are living in a material world, And I am a material girl” - in 2020, this was in fact true for the economies which suffered badly during the pandemic. But personally, especially after the Christmas days, I was reminded that other things count so much more. I’m grateful that we’ve made it healthy through this year and I’ve connected to friends and family in a completely new way. Even though we’re so far away from each other, we’ve gotten closer than we sometimes were before, even while living closer together.

Have a healthy, happy, and successful new year, everyone! Let’s continue to wear a mask, stay physically distant, and wash our hands! We’ve almost made it through!