It has been a year like no other. As it comes to a close, we have asked our editors to choose one word that represents the last twelve months. They were happy to share.
Liana Smolover-Bord ’21
For me, the best word to describe this year is heavy. This year has weighed down everyone’s minds and spirits, some more than others. The constant worry, frustration and anger are the reality we’re all living through and can form an incredible burden that we all must carry around with us. Although we are all experiencing each of this year’s events differently and to different degrees, I try to remember that we are all fighting through this together. Eventually, things will get lighter.
Adam Leff ’22
Since the very beginning of this year, we—as individuals and as a nation—have been bombarded by chaos and tragedy. The year opened up with the threat of nuclear war and immediately transitioned to Australian wildfires, UFO sightings, killer wasps and a deadly disease. Nothing could have prepared us for the pace and brutality that 2020 brought, as it dashed many of our prospects and caused permanent, lasting damage to our nation. All we could do was hunker down and hope to come out the other end mostly intact. As we limp into 2021 with our heads held high, let’s take a moment to hope for a year of recovery.
Aliza Lubitz ’21
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have become more attached to my sister, mom and dad. We have enjoyed each other’s company by going on hikes at Widewater, cooking recipes from my mom’s cookbook Jerusalem and binging The Crown together to distract from the daily stresses of COVID and the election. My family is my silver lining. They have made me feel loved during this year’s loneliest days—when I felt completely isolated from my friends and the world around me.
To make the understatement of the century, 2020 was not a good year. Some people like to say that a lot of good has come out of this year, which may be true, but we should not try to pretend that this year was in any way good. This was a terrible year filled with terrible things.
Ethan Wolin ’23
We have seen so much in 2020. My eyes have been more central than ever before to the way I experience the world around me, serving as the most essential conduit between my mind and the chaotic world outside. The events of the past year have also laid bare the enormous extent to which that connection—our understanding of reality—is different in different peoples’ eyes. Yet simultaneously, 2020 saw countless eyes opened and truths acknowledged anew; as the pandemic spurred and facilitated myriad revelations, the world seemed to collectively inch closer to 20/20 vision. Eye has another meaning as well: We have each found ourselves in the still, small, isolated eye of a storm looking out at the destruction beyond—or, at points, amid the ravages of the storm itself. And, of course, eye is a palindrome, a reminder that the division of years is arbitrary and that the end of one year is but the start of the next. Our existence is like alternating Es and Ys forever: eyeyeyeyeyeyeye….
Miriam Akhmetshin ’22
There is no question that 2020 has been a tiring year. The major events of the year have been non-stop and incredibly difficult. But GDS high school students have been thrust into uncertainty in a way that isn’t as headline-worthy. All students have unique individual factors that affect their day-to-day learning, but distance from school—and the structure, friendship and motivation it provides—is draining. By mid-December, I have gotten pretty tired.
Stella Tongour ’22
Many words can be used to describe this year, but twenty is a good one. The word twenty appears twice in the number 2020, which is this year. It happens pretty infrequently that the number of the year is just the first two numbers repeated. The last time it happened was 1919. The next time it will happen is 2121.
Alissa Simon ’21
Sore. We’ve all felt it. The aches in our necks and the smalls of our backs from months spent curled over the computer. Soreness is in the burning of our eyes after six consecutive hours on Zoom. Amidst the dramatic reconfiguration and compression of our lives, our bodies are still struggling to keep up and sit still. But we’re also reckoning with another kind of pain. In the Black Lives Matter protests, or a drawn-out, head-spinning presidential election, this year has revealed the aches we feel as a country. It’s not disappearing anytime soon. But maybe, with this new awareness, this diagnosis, we can work on it.
Leah Belber ’22
This year has been demanding. So much has been asked of me, my teachers, my family, my laptop… the list goes on and on. I feel taxed and exhausted and it has worn me, and everyone I know, down. Around the world, each person has suffered this year, and we are all working through it to the best of our ability. I have found that being able to connect with people, however possible, is one of the only things that can keep me motivated.
Sophie Axelrod ’22
Since March 13, I have struggled with routine and developing a method of normalcy through these uncertain times. Yet, at the same time, I have embraced my life as it is now, adjusting to the pandemic. I find normalcy in following the same schedule. My days are pretty boring, but I have a routine. I don’t do much; every day feels the same. Every day I go through the same routine of waking up, logging onto classes, doing homework, eating three meals and going for a run. These actions have sustained me when I wish I could be doing other things. Junior year is stressful as it is, but adding a pandemic onto it is no easy task to undertake. I do think a routine is necessary in finding happiness through uncertainty. While the same thing every day gets boring, it’s nice to have these things I know are going to happen every day. This routine has helped me stay grounded and stay sane. I am close to going crazy, stuck in my house, but a routine is what helps me through every day.
EJ Joseph ’21
This year has been one thing after another. Remember when we thought that the Australian wildfires were the worst it could get? Then we all came to realize that COVID-19 wasn’t just an extended spring break. Don’t forget murder hornets and the virtual senior run-in. At the end of the day, all you can say is “oof.”
Seth Riker ’22
Hope has proved its ability to sustain the best of us even in the worst of times. In a year of such adversity, hope has expressed who we can be in the face of the unprecedented circumstances. Hope has led us to envision a better future. It has inspired us to act and support. Hope has battled against fear and distrust. It has transcended lifetimes, keeping the struggle alive even in the midst of loss. Hope has persevered, and we have as well.
Kate Vidano ’21
This year has been warped. Merriam-Webster defines warped as twisted out of a natural or normal shape, eccentrically weird or strange or disturbingly abnormal or distorted. Before 2020, who would have ever heard of Zoom calls or Doctor Fauci? Staring at computer screens and endlessly Zooming into class has brought about an increasingly strange and out-of-shape reality. Counting down the days until 2021!
Kira Grossfield ’22
I chose the word dystopian because this year of turmoil has felt like a formidable work of fiction. Society’s division, reliance on technology, neglect of disadvantaged individuals and racial injustice have been brought to the foreground during a worldwide pandemic. An election put America’s ability to sustain itself as a democracy into question. This year has been strange, to say the least, and apocalyptic to say the most. I hope that we can rebuild in the coming years.
Shai Dweck ‘22
Although this year has been particularly unexpected, painful and scary, for many of us, I think it has been just as monotonous. This pandemic in large part trapped us in our homes and vastly limited our social interactions, often leaving us with nothing except to contemplate this pandemic and the fate of our country. I often am reminded of the movie Groundhog Day, being stuck in the dull vortex forcing you to relive the same (or what feels like the same) day over and over again. Our social interactions, whether they be conversations in class, during lunch, during a practice or even just saying “hello” in the hallways, shape our days. Without them, it’s easy to feel as though you’re just engaged in the same monotonous cycle.
It is helpful to reflect, but we also want to look forward. We chose one word for the future, one that we hope will represent the next year.
Tabitha Lynn ‘21 and Nick Penniman ‘22
So much of what we have lost in 2020 is moments—prom, graduation, seeing people in the hall, cheering at sports games, sharing an inside joke with your friend, lamenting over a failed test, spending the first warm spring day on the field. These are the memories we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. 2021 will be the year we catch up on what we lost. As we steadily begin to return to school as we knew it before COVID, our hope for the next year is that everyone will value each moment—whether big or small—that we once took for granted.