Opinion | ‘Dear 2020 self…’: A self reflection after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Daily Iowan Opinions writers reflect on a year since the start of the pandemic


Jeff Sigmund

Classroom 105 in the English-Philosophy Building sits empty on Aug. 28, 2020.

DI Opinions Staff

You didn’t know this at the time, but Feb. 26 was the last live concert you’ll perform for the unforeseeable future. Based on that statement, you already know 2020 is going to be hard. You’ll be confused and hurt, and you will reach your breaking point.

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Editor. Contributed.

But through all the tears and tough times, you’ll find new parts of yourself. You’ll finally start using your voice, and you’re going to grow in ways you can’t imagine. It’ll be more than a year without live music. But it’ll also be a year to discover new passions and what you are meant to do.

Right now, you just started at The Daily Iowan. You have no idea how much it will impact and change your life a year from where you are now.

Hold on tight along the ride and to the people you love. You may hit a lot of lows, but you will end up where you’re meant to be and grow in a way you can’t imagine.


Hannah Pinski, Opinions Editor

Opinions columnist Shahab Khan. Contributed.

Now, I know this may seem shocking, but you are not going to be able to go outside for a solid three months and your dusty Xbox is going to become your new best friend. No, Donald Trump did not end up invading Iran but that virus that you and your friends spent hours meme-ing on has brought America to its knees.

Now, you may be thinking, “wow well that sounds pretty bad” but you know what? 2020 is going to remind you of what is important. You are going to lose a lot of people who you considered close and that’s OK, because your family and idiot childhood friends are going to make you a better person.

Sending you lots of monkey noises.

Shahab Khan, Opinions Columnist

In no way are you prepared for the events that will transpire this year.

Opinions columnist Yassie Buchanan. Contributed.

You’ll have a phenomenal experience studying abroad in Spain. Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave the country because of something you will become all too familiar with called the coronavirus. Don’t wait for it to clear up, it won’t. Don’t pressure yourself to fill up your time either, sleepless nights will come.

You’ll see streets flood with fists held high for Black lives. You’ll see the world suffer as our nation’s leaders watch the coronavirus conquer our country. Give yourself space to process and heal.

Prepare for a plethora of exciting and novel experiences through writing, schooling, and various organizations.

You are surrounded by incredible people, thank them and yourself for keeping you going through it all. Love you girly.


Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

Opinions columnist Ally Pronina. Contributed.

Keep an open mind. Your mom, sister, and you will develop a tradition of watching TV every night of the weekend. We finished three shows — a feat we haven’t accomplished since high school. You’ll be able to make jokes about how since you watched almost all eight seasons of House, you can skip medical school.

Don’t let the pandemic stifle your humor. Keep in touch with your friends no matter how busy you get, it will keep you happy. Make the most out of quarantine instead of dreaming about it being over.


Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist



I know you love history, so get ready to live through it. The next year will bring unprecedented circumstances for everyone. Don’t fret though, because 2020 will give you so many opportunities for growth.

Although you’ll be socially distanced from friends and family, this year will bring you some of the deepest interpersonal connections you’ve ever made. As it turns out, connecting with people online isn’t impossible.

Opinions contributor Sophie Stover. Contributed.

You’ll be amazed at the collective willpower of humanity. Despite physical separation, we saw people around the world rise to the occasion to tackle some of our generation’s most pertinent issues.

Take everything in stride. Global pandemic or not, you can do anything you set your mind to.



Sophie Stover, Opinions Columnist

Opinions contributor Signe Nettum. Contributed.

Hey, future you here. You did alright with the pandemic. It is still going on, but you’ve found ways to cope with the scenario. No. 1, you got a pair of yorkie puppies! Pebbles and Mazie are very cute — not like Roomer, but close enough. You also got your first ever 4.0; all it took was a lockdown to raise your GPA.

What I consider the biggest accomplishment, though, is establishing a student-led literary magazine: Horizon. Surrounded by stress and pain, you carved out a space for yourself to fill with hope with people’s work, and you are now able to spread it to others.

Keep it up. I love you,


Signe Nettum, Opinions Contributor

Opinions contributor Josie Taylor. Contributed.

The pandemic will last longer than two weeks, so don’t make too many plans yet. Life is not going to go the way you think, but don’t let that stress you out. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself, and you’ll be forced to enjoy your own company. Try to keep your mind open whenever you can. You won’t stay where you are now, but you’ll end up in places that make you happier. Remember that you are capable of more than you think. Keep on doing your best. It will slowly pay off.

Sending you lots of love.


Josie Taylor, Opinions Contributor


Opinions contributor Evan Mantler. Contributed.

You are going to spend your 21st birthday in your childhood bedroom. Don’t count on having a night out on Halloween to make up for it.

You will miss your friends. Some of them already live across the country, some of them will graduate and move away. Spend time with them while you can.

In 2020, you’ll discover that leaning into your interests is not only a coping mechanism, but a long-term happiness strategy. You’re going to be really excited about the Twilight Renaissance and laugh at so many memes.

You’ll study for hours, take the LSAT multiple times, apply to law schools, and worry that you’re making a mistake. Maybe you are, but I don’t know yet. In 2021, you’re still hoping for the best and dreaming about the future.


Evan Mantler, Opinions Contributor

Opinions contributor Peter Anders. Contributed.

Dear Peter,

In a year, you’ll be baffled at how you took such simple things as going to the movies for granted. Hanging out with friends for granted, how you took extracurriculars and clubs on campus for granted, and how you even took the dating life for granted.

You’ll have become hardened, a bit more cynical, but also stronger for having endured the loss of places, and things you held dear. Compared to others you’ll have lost virtually nothing, but do take the time to look after yourself.


Peter Anders, Opinions Contributor

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.