Fill out this sentence: 2020 has been…
In a word, different.
Northwestern’s campus was left empty in the middle of March and remained that way until late July. COVID-19 changed nearly everything on campus and all over the world. However, to say that the virus was the only difference this year is a gross understatement.
January 2020 seems like a distant memory, but that’s when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the presence of COVID-19 in China. The first non-travel-related cases in the United States were confirmed in February. Then there was the global recession caused by the pandemic in March. The long-lasting effects of which might not be known for years.
There are those we lost: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, Chadwick Boseman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eddie Van Halen and so many more, including over 273,000 people who lost their lives to COVID-19 in the U.S.
In May, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, sparking renewed momentum for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Deadly wildfires in California burned over four million acres this year, doubling the previous record set in 2018. And to top it all off, “murder” hornets were spotted in the U.S.
Then, there was an impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump and a contentious presidential election that highlighted the country’s division and polarization.
Social trends looked a bit different this year as well, as everyone rocked their store-bought or homemade face masks. With stores closing and shutdowns in place over the summer months, not many new fads were introduced besides all different kinds of face coverings.
Perhaps the biggest fashion trend of 2020 is the new “business casual” with a nice shirt and casual, comfy pants, or in some cases, no pants at all. Zoom calls gave us the freedom to roll out of bed right before classes to finish up our spring semester without worrying about what we look like or what we’re wearing.
2020 has been a positive year for our furry friends, with more family around and more time spent at home. With stay-at-home orders and people working remotely, pet adoption rates soared and are still quite high in the midst of this pandemic. In fact, an animal shelter in Florida had an entire kennel emptied for the first time in their organization’s history.
Senior Calli Shaw said her family joined the adoption trend and brought home Tucker, a boxer mixed breed.
While there has undoubtably been turmoil, students and faculty alike have found things to be grateful for and beautiful moments along the way.
This year has been a whirlwind of emotions and events, and while it’s easy to see the negatives, it is equally as important to find moments of beauty and joy.
Reconnecting with friends this August was a highlight for many students. 2020 has been difficult, but it has also taught us to be grateful for the people in our lives and the daily experiences we have taken for granted.
After getting sick with COVID-19 just a few weeks ago, Dr. Valerie Stokes, associate professor of social work, was reminded of how much she truly loves her students and getting to teach.
“I received flowers, cards and a gift package. I have the best students in the world,” she said. “I am forever grateful for my relationship with each of them. So even though it’s been a difficult and tiresome semester, I still feel blessed by teaching.”