Professor 2020

5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Happy New Year!...

After 2019 being what we thought was a mess of a year, we all knew that 2020 was going to be LIT! Little did we know, the start of this decade was brewing up some mighty plans that would shake up the entire world, literally. With the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, COVID-19, layoffs and high unemployment rates, the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, endless protests, the election, and additional major events, society had no choice but to adjust to a new normal which included adopting a new way of thinking. We had no choice but to take this part of life exactly as it came. These are the top 3 lessons from 2020:

1. F*** That Job!

“Go to high school, college, get a job, and work hard to move up in your career.” This message is what so many millennials have been conditioned to believe to be the path to success. With a large number of layoffs in the country, many of us began to finally see and accept that we are disposable. It is quite amazing that we give 40+ hours of ourselves weekly, and in an instant, we are no longer needed. Was the stress we endured worth it? Was the inequitable salary worthy of our time and energy that we cannot get back? The circumstances of this year have made our vision clear enough to see how performative the companies and organizations we work for are, inspiring us to hold them accountable or to leave and seek out better opportunities.

Besides the pandemic influencing how we view employment practices, racial and other forms of social injustice have exposed our employers and have been enlightening as well. Diversity and inclusion being mentioned as a value of a company always provide us temporary comfort; however, the endless murders of Black Americans followed by companies posting black squares in “support” of social justice struck a nerve. How can support be shown on social media, but not in HR policies, hiring practices, or in the culture of the workplace? Do our Black lives really matter to y’all? Or was it just part of your marketing strategy?

These jobs will be fine with or without us. There are always doors of opportunity waiting to be opened for us. Sometimes we are not able to see the open doors because we think that we are stuck. 2020 taught us that it is okay to step away even if it is not in the most perfect way and that we have sufficient grounds to support our decision in doing so.

2. Shoot Your Shot

2020 let us know in a very brutal way that time waits for no one. The thought of shooting your shot in any regard can be nerve-wracking. Who wants to set themselves up to be potentially rejected? Seeing how Quavo slid into Saweetie’s DMs boosted the confidence for many to shoot their shots at their crushes with the hopes of establishing a new love connection. What could be worse than being left on “seen” in the DMs or your crush not liking you back? Still being in a pandemic… that’s what. Our perspectives about dating have been challenged because this year has been extremely unpredictable. We have had to be open to unconventional ways of getting to know a person.

On the flip side, this year has sparked a new wave of ideation and innovation, which has made way for unique opportunities. The creative world is booming and people are discovering new skills. Because of this, millennials and Gen-Zers have used social media platforms to display content or apps like Clubhouse to network with industry professionals or commission their work. 2020 has pushed people to cultivate spaces for others or carve out pathways for themselves.

They say, “shooters gon’ shoot!” Don’t worry about being perfect. Take a chance and if you succeed, accept the win. If you don’t, make another layup and shoot again. You only miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Whether for a relationship or professional opportunity, taking a chance on yourself or on something you believe in will never be a wrong choice.

3. Free Yourself

Fantasia said it best herself, “go ahead and free yourself.” While she may have been talking about the man in her life at the time, the underlying message is still applicable. There is liberation in being true to yourself and your needs. Because we are constantly trying to squeeze into the molds that our parents, corporate America, and general society created for us, being our authentic selves has been a challenge. Striving to live up to someone else’s standards prevents us from finding inner peace.

Self-liberation unlocks new energy and perspective. It opens the gateway to happiness. Freeing yourself may be the most important lesson to learn because it will push us to stand in our truth and have ownership over who we are. It promotes individualism and freedom of thought. It requires us to find courage in standing alone.

Many of the concepts we believe in are constructs, and as we grow and discover ourselves, we realize not everything aligns with who we are or are striving to be. Breaking away from ideologies that no longer serve us is beneficial and liberating. Who doesn’t want to feel free?

Life is always full of surprises, and the year 2020 was as surprising as walking through a haunted house and being shocked at the clown with an ax around the corner. Through it all, we have learned about the world and ourselves in a way that only this year could make clear to us. Despite the amount of tragedy and unexpected circumstances that have occurred, we have still managed to see the silver lining.

Hindsight is 2020.

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