The 2020 Experience

The+2020+Experience

Lockdown. Pandemic. Social distancing. Stimulus checks. TikTok. Synchronous. Asynchronous. Zoom. 2020 presented us with new vocabulary, experiences, and struggles. From social justice issues, to online school, to having way too much free time, to a presidential election that was eventful to say the least, 2020 was unprecedented.

Mental Health: by Alexis Mohler
I would struggle to do my schoolwork because I never felt motivated. Feeling drained, lonely, extremely bored. It was also a time that many, including myself, would isolate ourselves in our rooms because of feeling disconnected from the world around us.

Often I would feel stressed when I couldn’t see my friends. I had to FaceTime or text which isn’t the greatest after being away from personal contact for so long.

Honestly I wasn’t able to understand how to do virtual learning. It was very confusing and extremely irritating at the same time. I never felt productive or motivated to do it. It never felt like real school.

Most of the time I procrastinated and had missing assignments. It was a never ending cycle of assignments and due dates.

Days on end staring at the same walls. Doing the same thing. The days blended together. Days became weeks, and weeks became months, all just like the others.

Online School: by Tyler Doyle
On March 13, 2020, we were thrown into an unorganized mess.

Two weeks passed with nary an update, and then we were told that school wouldn’t be face-to-face in a classroom anymore.

Having only ever known school as being in a classroom with my peers, this upended everything.

We all suffered through the semester. From abundant missing assignments and due dates to drastically low scores on everything.

However, some people were even worse off. Some people had to use a program called Edgenuity.

At first Edgenuity seemed to work great. Throughout sophomore year, I didn’t have any issues with the program. Junior year started and I was back to Edgenuity through HAVEN. No problem, right?

Both programs ended up being terrible.

Trying to do schoolwork on Edgenuity becomes exhausting when you have to deal with persistent glitches and errors. A far too common occurrence was answer boxes not showing up, and having to exit and login again to fix it.

With the new semester around the corner being a light at the end of the tunnel, you could change your school choice, and the immense relief of being able to switch back to in-person is unbeatable.

Even though there are visible contradictions, overall the school seems to be in some control taking care of the in person learning.

We still don’t know quite what we are doing, but we are getting better.

Social Justice: by Evan Dillow and Liz Henry
What started out with threats of a Third World War ended with more American casualties than in the Second World War. 2020 was not just a year of pandemic, but also a year of chaos in the streets. As if we weren’t already sick enough of staying inside with annoying family members and not working/being paid, there was a spike in demand for social justice after the violent and unnecessary deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and many other people of color, who lost their lives to racist attacks or police officers. And the cherry on top was that it was an election year, which pitted incumbent President Donald Trump against Vice President Joseph Biden.

The Black Lives Matter movement, which started in July of 2013, showed itself and its emotion through protests even more in 2020, demanding justice for people of color.

Many countered this movement with “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter.”
All of this made many teens want to get up, get ready, and prepare for the biggest fight of their lives for justice.

I’ve seen young people go to protests that always had the risk of danger, or even death.

Young people shoved their anxiety aside and stood with our lost and alive brothers and sisters of color. Young people stood up and shouted, screamed, hollered: this has to end now.

In the perspective of these young people, seeing racism spiking through these murders provoked outrage, outright. It ripped away selfishness, laziness, contentment.

It brought out anger and the demand for justice. Teenagers were not going to just accept this. Teens went to protests. Teens spread awareness. Teens donated to organizations.

Racism is a disease that many, many people have fought, and are still fighting against. Teens became more aware than any adult ever thought they could.

Americans took to the polls like never before to cast their vote, and even that did not go without controversy.

So where does a teenage perspective come into this? Americans our age cannot vote, so how do we who understand the issues, voice them?

Teenagers are growing up into this world, a world where disasters and destruction fill the headlines of the news. We have a lot to grapple with. It is important for us to discuss our opinions with others, even those with different opinions from us. It is important that the next generation of Americans thinks and votes smarter than the previous generation.

As social media becomes increasingly popular amongst younger generations, we begin to use it to voice our opinions rather than just talk about our lives. We need to be the generation that breaks out of our political chambers and have talks with those of the opposite perspective.

As teenagers, it is hard not to look outside and form opinions about everything that takes place nowadays, and as we become older we become more absorbed into the issues. This is why it is important to become smarter, more conscious voters in the future.

With all that happened in 2020, it is imperative that teenagers, even though they cannot voice their opinions the same way adults can, have these discussions. If we are to be a more politically conscious generation than the last, we need to make the change.

Positives: by Omar Henriquez
Many people can agree that 2020 as a whole wasn’t normal.

But with all the bad the year brought, it provided us with many surprisingly great things. To the surprise of many, being locked up in your house for months on end gives a lot of time to think and act. Many people were able to enjoy hobbies and spend time with family.

What this really did was to let people find themselves and really understand how to better themselves. Through all the tough times and decisions made throughout the year, it gave opportunities for people to push themselves.

Sports: by Owen Lapp
The most impressive thing that happened in sports this year was the fact that we even had sports.

It wasn’t the dunks, home runs, or touchdowns. It wasn’t America’s Pastime limping into its return. It wasn’t Jimmy Butler giving his all to win a single Finals game, only to lose to the dynastic Lakers.

It wasn’t even Tom Brady leaving the only organization he had ever known to follow every elderly person’s dream of retiring in Florida. It was the opportunity for any of them to even happen.

We watched as grown men isolated themselves from their families in a giant theme park built for grown men to bring their families to. We watched athletes squabble over who got more millions of dollars while millions of people were laid off. We watched the XFL, too.

The improbability of the navigation of this maze has been lost among the other improbable moments of 2020.

We were told that it would be impossible for the NFL to complete its season. Baseball was going to have to push back the playoffs. The NBA couldn’t make a bubble in Disney.

But it all happened. It was improbable!

More improbable than the Heat rolling through the Eastern Conference. More improbable than the Dodgers coming back from a three games to one deficit to win the National League. More improbable than a 43 year old quarterback winning the Super Bowl. We completed the seasons of all the major sports. And it was amazing.

Despite all of these crazy, unpredictable events, here we are. We made it through 2020, even though we had no idea how we were going to do it. 2020 brought out the best and the worst of people, and now we have been brought out of 2020.