One heck of a year behind us, and a new hope ahead!


Ava Gayowski, Reporter

It’s 11:59, December 31st, 2019 and there’s one more minute left of the year.  “2020 is gonna be my year” is said about a dozen times and the sound of chatter and clinking glasses fills nearly every room.  We can’t forget about the traditional kiss at midnight, the songs that we sing, and the rituals that we do with family and friends because those are memories that we hold near and dear to our hearts.  However, there won’t be any of that this year.  No parties, no gatherings, no nothing.  It sounds like I’m describing a beige wall of nothingness but instead of being negative, I think it might be good to take a break from all the craziness and loud flashy lights.  December 31st, 2020 should be reflective and most importantly, we all should do a lot of introspection and express gratitude for the fact that some of us are still standing here even after all that has happened.  New Year’s Eve will be different this year, just like the rest of the previous holidays were.  It won’t necessarily be a bad difference either. I think people often get caught up in the headspace that things always need to be grandiose and perfect to kick something off.  When in all truth, we should be embracing the smaller things that we often take for granted like our family members that are still here and our health.  In 2019, we weren’t thinking about wearing masks, we weren’t thinking about the fact that there are more than 20 people in a room, and we definitely weren’t thinking about how fragile our health really is. Things were different.  Everybody was living for the next moment and at the end of every year that passes, we all act as if we had it so hard, and maybe some of us did… But nobody was expecting what 2020 had to bring.


We will be starting off in 2021 knowing what to expect with COVID-19 and possibly COVID-20. There is a vaccine on the way for the public, and we will have a new president.  Hopefully, we will see more justice given to those who need it and more change in our society; these are the country’s new year’s resolutions if I’m being honest.  These are also things that we all wish to see in the new year.  We went from, the super unattainable goals and non-realistic expectations to simply wanting a normal life back.  All we could ever hope for now is to walk into a grocery store without a mask and to be able to have a nice conversation with the cashier without plexiglass separating you.


Ashley Day (12) said some of her hopes for the new year are “graduating [and] repairing the damage from COVID.”  I think seniors in high school this year are definitely hoping that we have some type of graduation to celebrate all four years of hard work coming to an end. With hybrid learning and all of the other virtual learning options, I think we might be able to come to a compromise with this disease and hopefully be able to operate safely.  That is, just because it’s a new year, doesn’t mean COVID goes away, everybody still has to do their part.  Doing your part equals a step in the right direction.


In years past, we wanted to make bigger and better plans than the year before but now all we want is what we had then, maybe even the bare minimum. Lexie Fleming (12) says, “I think having the possibility to have life go back to normal is something to look forward to.”


Of course,  we are all at a point where all we want in the new year is some sort of normality. According to ABC News, “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, has repeatedly said vaccine participation will need to be at least 75% in order to achieve herd immunity and stop the virus.” So hopefully, by next fall, we could get a taste of what life was like before this.  Obviously, that is hopeful thinking but at least we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.


Aside from the COVID outlook, there is obviously more to life than simply dreading it.  Leaving 2020 has taught us some really valuable lessons.  We learned how to cope with the unexpected, we learned how to create our own fun and get creative, and most importantly, we practiced self-discipline when school started back up (in our own homes with a ton of distractions).  It is safe to say that I am proud of every single student here at Urbana who gives their 110% every day.  I’m extremely proud of the teachers here that have figured out new ways of teaching and who have been the most supportive during this time.  All of these things will make going into 2021 a whole lot easier.  We’ve been through it before so it only goes up from here.


As 2020 comes to a close, I just want to tell you to never stop giving your 110% in 2021.  Happy New Year!



ABC News, ABC News Network,