The past is in the past, 2021 here we come


2020: A series of unfortunate events. As we ring in 2021, there are a couple questions: will the “curse” that is 2020 end? Why would anyone want to relive the nightmare that is 2020, what many would consider to be the darkest time in American and global history? 
“2020 has basically turned my life upside down,” senior Abby Ryan said.  “Being away from school and sports for so long has made me incredibly unmotivated and I find it very difficult to do school work.”
Looking back, seeing what the people from all around the world went through, overcame, learned and persevered through is inspiring and gives the utmost reason to look forward to the 2021 year.
What seems like years ago there were the Australian wildfires. almost one thousand acres of land burned to the ground, around over three billion animals died and hundreds of species needed intervention in January. The devastating Australian wildfires lasted about 210 days until they finally ceased.
Fast forward to March 13 2020, the day most American students unexpectedly saw the halls of their schools for the last time for months to come. Two weeks turned into months. Months of not seeing friends or family, not connecting with the outside world, became the “new normal.” We’re all trapped in a bubble. 
“The worst part of 2020 was the lockdown and missing people in general,” senior Tracy Bagadonas said.  “It was difficult, to say the least, to spend that much time inside with my entire family as we all had to cope with our new environment. I also missed my friends, teachers, extended family members, and other people who I could not see.”
“For me, the worst part of 2020 was during April,” senior Alexis Gutierrez said. “It was about a month into quarantine and all of the false promises made by government officials were beginning to fall through. At this point, it had been so long since we had seen our friends and family, and normality seemed like a figment of our imagination. We also weren’t being told any concrete information and it seemed like we would be perpetually confused, scared and confined.”

What to expect in 2021:

America’s next four years are bound to look very different, no matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on. Wednesday Jan. 20, 2021 marks the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. If he stays true to his word, the country’s policies will become more aligned with the Democratic establishment. However, Biden is far from a revolutionary, and he positions himself as more of a gradual reformer with a reputation for bipartisanship. His 100-day plan gives great insight into what his priorities are, and chances are, he will be facing a divided Congress, with a Republican-dominated Senate and a slimmer majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives. This gridlock is likely to impede his progress. 
Unfortunately, America is currently experiencing yet another wave of COVID-19, in conjunction with many measures to further open up the country. However, pharmaceutical company Pfizer (with competitor Moderna sharing similar news days later) released encouraging news their vaccine was 95 percent effective in late-stage trials.  However, the vaccine has not been approved yet. AstraZenaca, a biotech firm working with Oxford University has also announced they have a vaccine, albeit it is only 70 percent effective. According to Pfizer, they will only have enough for about 50 million people before 2021. With 328.2 million people in the United States alone, and the global population all battling to receive vaccines first, it seems unlikely that everyone will be able to access the vaccine soon. 
Do Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School students have hope for 2021? 
“Even though it was hard for me to act and do things that I wanted to do because of COVID, I still feel like I had a lot of control over my own life and had a lot of time to reflect on myself,” Bagdonas said. “Going into 2021, I’m glad I had that time to work on myself because I feel like a better person now.”
Seniors are in a unique position this year, being the first to navigate the majority of the college process during a pandemic.
“I’m nervous in terms of the pandemic as well as my own future with regards to college,” senior Ethan Heifetz said. 
Still, many seniors are hopeful. 
“I predict 2021 will be the craziest year yet,” Ryan said. “My goals are to finally graduate and start college on a good note, hopefully with new friends I meet along the way.”
“2021 feels like the year that all of my decisions so far are leading up to,” Bagdonas said. “During this year, I will decide which college I’m going to attend, say goodbye to every friend I’ve ever made in high school, and have my life change permanently. However, I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life, meet new people, and have new experiences. ” 
While 2020 was certainly a tumultuous year, students seem optimistic about a fresh new start on the horizon.