Lessons from 2021

Sparkler New Year

The new year is a chance to reflect on the past few months, what you would like to change and what you would like to continue. It was another unusual year with more challenges and tests of our resilience. We asked our student digital ambassadors to share what they learned this past year and what they hope to take forward to 2022.

Taking nothing for granted

“2021 taught me nothing to take for granted. It also taught me how to be grateful. I’m grateful for the life I’ve here, for the life I know I want to have and for the path that brought me here.” Surabhi Sanghi, MA South Asian Studies and Intensive Language 

How important adaptability is as a skill

“2021 taught me how much of an important factor ‘change’ is in all of our lives. My life has changed in several different ways during this year and I have just been required to adapt with no guidance. During these changes, I have learned how important adaptability is as a skill because that is the skill that has allowed me to progress into the man I am today. I look forward to 2022 because I know I will go into the year ready for whatever gets fired at me and I am looking forward to making more money, more memories and becoming a more knowledgeable individual.” Gajaan Sugumar, Foundation Year

Embracing change (and cutting your own hair!)

If 2021 taught me anything, it is that life can be full of uncertainty. I’ve learned the importance of embracing and adapting to change… even if it means staying at home and cutting your own hair for the first time!” Sinem Ishlek, BA Global Development 

Feeling grateful to study what I love

“This year has been nice and new for me. It has been far from the mentally easiest year of my life, as I – like many other people – had to acknowledge and face some mental health issues. However, this has been a nice year for me as I had the fortune to meet amazing people, visit nice places, work and study what I love. Despite all the difficulties the pandemic brought, I am grateful for the people around me and the incredible opportunities life has offered me.” Benedetta Mocci, BA Politics and International Relations

Learning to have a flexible attitude

“2021 has been largely about learning how to be deal with constant uncertainty by being adaptable and developing healthy coping strategies during stressful times. I’ve also become a lot more grateful for in-person interactions, whether in seminars or meeting new people, I realised how much I had missed that during the first half of 2021. I hope to go into 2022 with a flexible attitude, making the best of what may happen and the most of what SOAS has to offer.” Agustina Villalba, BA Social Anthropology 

Life is about the little moments of happiness

“2021 has been difficult in many ways: the second wave of COVID-19, the fear of losing family and friends, maintaining sanity, and being productive amongst all of these. It taught me the value of near me dear ones, the pain of losing someone you could not even bid adieu in their death bed, the stamina needed to keep calm and controlled. However, after such a constrained phase of life I have come to be grateful for all the little things in life. The fact that my family and I are still alive and breathing, able to afford a square meal per day gives me immense joy. I pray that all realise how life is not about the big things but is about the little moments of happiness that help us sail across difficult terrains.” Amrita Dasgupta, PhD in Gender Studies

Meeting great people at SOAS

“This year has brought so many changes in my life: starting to study a new language, getting vaccinated against COVID-19, quitting the job I worked for four years and coming to the UK to start my degree. 2022 will also be about challenges and changes both academically and personally. Being grateful for meeting great people at SOAS, I wish to make my academic year fruitful.” Haruna Kono, MA Gender Studies

To keep challenging myself academically

As we move into 2022, I hope to continue to challenge myself academically and linguistically. Ideally, by the end of the year, I’d like to have language qualifications in both Korean and Chinese.” Ruby Punt,  MA Comparative Literature

Life doesn’t always go to plan – and that’s ok!

“If 2021 has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes things happen that are out of my control and it is important to be able to adapt to change. 2021 has been filled with lots of highs and lows, and whilst I’m excited about the prospect of a fresh new start in 2022, I am reminding myself that life doesn’t always go to plan – and that’s ok!” Rachael Woodroffe, MSc Global Creative and Cultural Industries

We wish everyone at SOAS a happy new year and a restful break this holiday.

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