Students walk around campus on an early fall day

Students walk around campus on an early fall day, Oct. 10, 2021

2021: A year defined by hope, growth, chaos, setbacks and so much more. There was a lot to unpack from this year, whether it stemmed from personal experiences or the multitude of events going on in the world right now. Therefore, it only seemed fitting for the lifestyles section to reflect on some of the crazy and not-so-crazy aspects of 2021, and consider some New Year’s resolutions as we jump into 2022. 

Molly Dye (senior, communication science and social inquiry) 

I had high hopes for 2021, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Throughout the pandemic, I started feeling like I had no control over my life and all of my actions and efforts seemed robotic. In 2021, I decided to stop going with the flow and start doing things for myself. 2021 turned into the year of taking risks and going out of my comfort zone. I started being more honest with people, tried improving my communication skills with those close to me (a little ironic given the major) and started standing up for myself a bit more, even when it got super uncomfortable. I travelled across Europe and Rwanda with random people I met in September, and now I consider many of them great friends. As a senior, the looming fear of graduation has been pounding in my head for quite some time now, so that’s something I think I need to face in a more productive way in 2022. My New Year’s resolution is to face some of my fears about adulthood and turn my fear and anxiety into motivation.

David Vu (sophomore, humanities for public service)

After a year that was quite unexpected and unsteady, I was ready for a fresh start with the new year of 2021. Even though I felt happy to have been able to be at Virginia Tech last fall semester, I mostly stayed in my own hall due to the constant fear and anxiety of the pandemic spreading throughout the university; but it could have been worse, and at least I made some amazing friends during that time. 

I was extremely ecstatic that this year we were able to reach a relative form of “normalcy” and do activities outside of the confined walls of my hall and home again. This year, I would say that I really came into my own and found interests and activities that became a part of me. I became enamored with the exhilarating sport of rock climbing and I was able to join the club for it this year at Tech. I was also able to join the wonderful Collegiate Times and got back into the world of journalism after a bit of a break from it last year. I feel like this year, with all of the activities and interests I acquired, I have really gained a sense of accomplishment as well as confidence for myself. My New Year's resolution for 2022 is to continue improving my confidence and myself through my hobbies and activities.

Colleen Henneberry (sophomore, multimedia journalism)

I’m pretty sure everyone else in the world felt the same level of apprehension going into 2021 because of the dumpster fire that was 2020. Everyone was hoping and praying for the year to be 10 times better than 2020, and for me, I would say it did not disappoint. Of course, it wasn’t the year that everything in my life fell into place: I went through monumental life changes and experienced things I wouldn’t wish even on my worst enemy. Despite that, I think this year has brought about changes in me that I couldn’t have gone through otherwise. I, along with everyone else here at Virginia Tech, survived through the worst of a pandemic. Things that we never thought would happen in our lifetime happened in the span of a couple years, and yet we managed to claw our way through. As for me, I wasn’t expecting to change much in my first semester at Tech. I was simply ready to be around people for the first time in over a year. However, coming back to in-person classes and being immersed in my school has made me realize what I am truly capable of within my personal and academic life. In 2022, I want to expand on what I have already been working towards: I want to continue living my life without fear of judgement and influence from other people. It’s time for me to start living for myself in 2022, and I hope everyone reading this does the same.

Emily Burch (junior, professional and technical writing)

The pandemic has brought on lots of new challenges over the past few years, which made it difficult for me to stay optimistic with the stress and anxiety COVID-19 brought. However, this year, my dog brought a lot of joy into my life. Each morning, she hops on my bed to wake me up, ready to take on the day with me. She will then lead me to the backdoor to play a good game of fetch. Without her, I would probably still be lying in bed and missing out on all the fun. Whenever we go on walks together, she will look back at me and do little jumps for joy, which to me is her way of saying that she’s having fun and she’s happy that I’m here with her. Her cheerful and adventurous spirit is very contagious, and I am so thankful to have such a loving friend in my life. This year, my dog taught me to appreciate each little triumph or success in life just like she does. Even something as simple as going on a walk with her is worth celebrating. My New Year’s resolution is to continue to treasure each little accomplishment I make in 2022.

Emanda Seifu (freshman, general engineering) 

2020 was filled with struggles across the board for everyone, so going into 2021, I had big hopes and dreams. Although we are still battling a pandemic, this past year did not disappoint. In 2021, I graduated from high school and began my journey as an adult entering my freshman year of college. My first semester as a Hokie has been incredible, to say the least. I've met so many wonderful people who I considered to be family. Tech has allowed me to grow more independent while also being able to foster strong and meaningful relationships. I also had the opportunity to join the Collegiate Times, where I've been able to continue building my passion for journalism all while being surrounded by a passionate and determined group of people. My New Year's resolution for 2022 is to continue to meet new people, explore my passions and make great memories.

Olivia Ferrare (sophomore, industrial and systems engineering)

2021 exceeded my expectations entirely. As an optimistic person by nature, I knew going into this year that it would only get better than 2020. Through these 12 months, I eased more into my major courses and delved into my true passions as a student and eventual engineer in the workforce, battling my own insecurities and doubts from others along the way. I continued to learn and grow as a leader through my editor position at the Collegiate Times, as the team of writers and editors here make it so easy to fall in love with journalism and Virginia Tech every single day. I’m so thankful for my family and friends, my sorority, the CT and my self-confidence (even when it is definitely unwarranted). Going into 2022, I’m striving to put myself first more often and expand on my love for helping others and learning more about how I can make an impact. 

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