New Year Update – Review of 2020

Well, 2020 is finally over. As predicted, the current situation hasn’t magically improved with the turn of the new year, like people were hoping. While it might not be the best of starts of 2021, with the UK going into yet another, national lockdown, it can’t possibly get any worse than last year, right? However, as it is the new year, I thought I’d take a quick look back at 2020, looking at some of the highlights of the year for me and also give an update on the blog. Let’s get started.

The biggest thing to happen, as well as my proudest achievement, is somehow getting through and finishing my History degree at Bournemouth University. My final year was a weird one, where it was incredible, rewarding, very stressful and full of unforeseen situations. Let’s start with the bad. There were various lecturer strikes which luckily, didn’t impede my studies too much, since I didn’t have many taught modules in my final year. However, it did lead to the already limited contact time of a final year history degree, to be cut down. Then there’s the elephant in the room, the pandemic. When the UK went into its first national lockdown, this caused most of the population, not just students, to adapt to new scenarios. Everything was moved online for university, adding a lot of uncertainty to the whole situation. For someone that has pretty bad anxiety, this wasn’t ideal. With my dissertation, graduate project and other module needing a lot of attention, I was pretty much glued to the desk in my room for the next 3 months. While it was tough, I know it could have been far worse, and my lecturers were incredible and always so supportive and responsive when I contacted them for help.

I remember playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, when my dissertation deadline was getting nearer.

Despite all this and the stress, I still thoroughly enjoyed my final year and it ended up being my best. I loved my optional units, particularly one called History and Political Struggle: International Perspectives Through Film. It was such a fascinating topic and the skills learnt really came in handy for my dissertation. The Graduate Project, where we were split into groups and had to work with an outside organisation to plan, create and present a project, was incredibly rewarding. But, my proudest piece of work has to be my dissertation. The topic I ended up doing, was something that I had conceptualised in my first year, becoming clearer at the start of my second. The title was ‘Attitudes Towards Homosexuality in Britain Through the Analysis of Film and Television, 1957-1980.’ This was such an important topic to look at (for reasons both personal and general) and bring more focus on, since not much work had previously been done in the field. I put so much hard work into it, hundreds of hours of research, drafting chapters, rewriting and editing. I ended up getting a first for it – 76% to be exact – and I couldn’t be happier. All of my assignments in the final year received a first, which really surprised me and so I ended up receiving a First Class Honours Degree.

In terms of my blog, it took a bit of a backseat for the majority of the year, as I wanted to put most of my focus into uni work. Despite having less posts than the previous year, I ended up having more views, with my Professor Layton Ranked List reaching over 1000 views. While I may have not posted as much on the blog, I was still playing and completing many games, with my Game of the Year being Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I was also incredibly lucky enough to grab a PS5 at launch, having been sat on Amazon refreshing the page every 30 seconds for like an hour and a half, waiting for them to go live. I’m still surprised I could secure one. There have been so many great games to have released in 2020, so I thought I’d quickly list some highlights. Animal Crossing pretty much saved a lot of people and become a global phenomenon, coming out at the perfect time to help people relax, escape and build up their own island. Ori and the Will of the Wisps was a masterpiece that I cannot recommend enough. Astro’s Playroom was a complete surprise that had me smiling the entire time. Tell Me Why is an important game for LGBTQ+ representation, that tells an emotional story about family. There are so many more I’d like to talk about, but I will save it for my Top Ten Games of the Year post, which will likely come out sometime in March, as I’d like to finish a couple more of the big games before making the list.

I still can’t believe my Professor Layton post has done this well!

It was a shame that I didn’t post as much last year, I’ve been getting very organised again and started to post more frequently. I really want to post far more on the blog and also try new types of posts. I started doing a ‘tips for beginners’ article, so I am thinking of doing more of that in the future. I have also wanted to try my hand at creating videos, like reviews on YouTube to gain more skills, while also branching out more and getting comfortable doing voice-overs. It’s something I’ve thought about for a couple years, but haven’t really had the chance to try. Maybe this year will be the time, especially as I do have more time now, since I’m no longer at uni and only working part-time until something else comes along, when the world returns to some semblance of normality.

Anyways, that was my 2020 review and I hope you enjoyed the read. What were some of your best parts of 2020 and are there any goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear. Stay safe everyone and I hope you have a great rest of the week.

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8 thoughts on “New Year Update – Review of 2020

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  1. Pardon the ignorance in my asking: were UK post secondary institutions NOT already heavily invested in virtual classroom environments prior to “the event”? You noted there being uncertainty about it, which is an extremely foreign line of thinking to me because when (’11-’14) and where (Canada) I was in college the majority of my classes were partially, or entirely online. This year’s events wouldn’t have impeded my studies at all. I always figured we were the technological butthole of the world, but now I’m less certain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were and they weren’t. While PowerPoint slides were always put up online afterwards, you’d never really have lectures recorded. Also, some lecturers were better than others, where some wouldn’t be good with tech or just inconsistent in general. So when everything was moved online for the pandemic, we would have lectures/meetings on Microsoft Teams.

      For me and my history degree though, there were particular issues and uncertainties that arose. For one, our Graduate Project unit, which was as important as the dissertation, was heavily affected. Since we were working with a museum, we could no longer travel there to carry out any more research in their dedicated research room, or look at objects/artefacts. Also, our entire project plan and output could no longer go ahead and had to be changed, which was pretty concerning at that stage of the project. Not being able to meet up and work face-to-face with the other members of the group was also an issue, particularly getting towards the end of the term.

      There was also other problems in regards to library material for my dissertation. Since not all material had been digitised, I was now cut off and limited to only the books and material that had been put up online. Another personal reason, being stuck at home wasn’t great for my mental health. Spending pretty much all my time, apart from the few hours of part-time work, in the same place and room, was difficult. It was tough to be as productive as I would be if I was able to go and do work at the campus.

      So, while there was a level of investment in virtual environments already, it wasn’t perfect and many other issues for unique modules, meant there was quite a bit of uncertainties and struggles. Sorry for the long reply 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the detailed reply.

        Sounds like you folks were quite behind relative to what I dealt with almost a decade ago. Most lectures were recorded and almost our whole library was online by that point. It’s a shame the same wasn’t true for you, but despite the setbacks you still made it through. There’s something to be said for achieving your goals in the face of adversity so double congrats for that. 🙂

        Here’s hoping 2021 is better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks. Although it was tough and I didn’t get to have a normal final year, I still found incredibly rewarding. I just hope we can have our graduation ceremony at some point this year, as it has been pushed back indefinitely. I’m the first person in my family to have gone to university, so it would be nice to still have that traditional ceremony.

        Liked by 1 person

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