Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 

I just spent the past two weeks at home and took on a slower pace after a very eventful first term at RAIUL. This first semester was everything I expected and more – I made new friends from across the world, developed my knowledge on an array of subjects, and started thinking about what I aim to do after I finish my MBA in September.  

Being at home has given me so much time to reflect on the past decade that was 2020. I spent as much time as I could away from my phone and focused on talking with my parents and sister. Journaling, reading, cleaning and eating are just a few things that I fill my free time with over the past 2 weeks. Since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, I couldn’t normally do what I normally do when I visit Manila – visit friends and family, go to the beach, socialise like we used to. Christmas felt very different this year; although all the lights were up and we had our traditional meals at home, the biggest aspect of this holiday was missing – and it was physical human interaction. Not being able to hug my friends after a long period of time of not seeing them and not being able to spend Christmas day with my grandparents because they’re in the opposite end of the Philippines made it particularly unusual. 

Although I’ve mentioned previously that this Christmas is very different to that I’ve had before, it’s still very memorable and there is still so much to be grateful for – I’m grateful that I can spend this holiday with my family and that I am lucky enough to fly back home on the same day Boris Johnson announced the Tier 4 restrictions. I am thankful for having technology that allows us to spend the holidays with others even though we’re in our own houses that are miles apart.  

I look forward to what 2021 has to throw at me. This year has taught me how to adapt to ever changing environments, how to keep in touch with friends without being able to see them, and how to find new means of motivation to get me through the rough patches of this pandemic. Hopefully 2021 sees a different side and we can get back to normalcy soon. I cannot wait to see what the new year has in store for all of us. Stay safe and I’m so excited to start a new semester soon!