Way We See It: 2020 – That’s a wrap!

Longing for all the issues that plague the world to be over, nostalgia has hit harder than ever this year. Looking back at 2020, we choose to view it through a transformative light rather than a time of disaster.

Way We See It: 2020 - That’s a wrap!

Natural disasters, impeachment, international protests, COVID-19 pandemic, celebrity deaths, mental health, Australian fires, quarantine stress. We didn’t start the fire.
Although confronted with trying and tumultuous times during 2020, we must remember that adults and children alike have learned to adapt to life-changing circumstances.
People all around the world have been displaced by the tragic events that have occurred in this year, particularly the ongoing pandemic. We maintain the right to grieve for lost loved ones, lost time and lost life experiences. However, we are also able to acknowledge the positive growth that we have gone through and realize that as a whole, we will contribute to a better future.
With the threat of COVID-19 looming since the beginning of 2020, students and teachers have adapted to virtual schooling and standardized testing, faced mental health struggles and even experienced the virus themselves.
The pandemic has taught us many lessons, one of which is to stop taking things, small and big, for granted. We have learned that the joys of life are composed by the soft murmurs interrupted by laughter in restaurants, the hugs and loving gestures of family and the festivities and celebrations of holidays.
Our hearts feel the absence of these little, yet important, moments that we so often label as commonplace. In the future, and in the present, practicing mindfulness to live in the moment is key. We can learn much by putting our phones to the side, recentering upon the present and avoiding the overthought of the future that we have grown so accustomed to.
Enjoying present experiences, rather than being concerned about what happens next, is a beneficial, mindful habit to implement into daily life. Although future plans have been upended since COVID-19 started, we can control our reactions in the present. As we work to remain calm in the present, it is important that we remind ourselves that we, together, will always prevail.
Even prior to the pandemic, mental health battles were hard-won and prevalent in adolescent and student populations. These battles have been made harder, and even more prevalent, as students desperately try to balance the constant influx of often negative news and schoolwork. Students continue to fight for balance in personal lives and school lives, while both continue to change and shift.
2020 was also a year in which we experienced public loss and grieving. With the death of public and influential figures, we were confronted with our own mortality. We reflect upon the legacies and impact of those lost: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, and Alex Trebek to name a few, but not all. These deaths have impacted the public quite strongly, as we have continued to bear the weight and carnage of a global pandemic.
As a nation, we also endured a vicious presidential election. In a time of great polarization, many experienced the election “apart.” There was, however, a quality of the election that brought many “together” in frustration towards polarization. But with the results of the election announced, although those results continue to be challenged, we leave the year 2020 with a president-elect. However, in leaving 2020, we must work to also shift the way we view partisanship. Rejecting the partisanship that threatens to tear our nation apart starts with both sides and ends when we no longer demonize others as humans for holding different views. Only when that occurs will we meet the end of vicious partisanship and bigotry.
As journalists ourselves, it is important to recognize the journalists that have done their best to cover the pandemic, the election and the state of the world ethically. In this time, journalists ran towards danger in order to document the human experience. In documenting this time in history for the memory of these trying experiences to be immortalized, we hopefully will allow future generations to learn from our mistakes.