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Monday, December 04, 2023

For the Navigators: the end of an era

Preparing for the Groundhog Day and zombie apocalypse soon to be known as 2021

The seemingly cursed year of 2020 is coming to an end. Students remember what was and look to a hopefully brighter 2021.
The seemingly cursed year of 2020 is coming to an end. Students remember what was and look to a hopefully brighter 2021.

Well, here we are, at the end of a year that happened to play the biggest Uno reverse card in all of history. As this year comes to a climactic end, Jupiter, the planet of self-improvement and optimism finds itself in Capricorn, the certified cynic of the zodiac. 

It’s hard not to bitterly reminisce about the hopes I had for 2020. Last New Year’s Eve, I was enjoying a bottle of Martinelli’s hard cider, dancing to Boogie Wonderland in my pajamas, hoping the universe would be just a little kinder to us in the coming decade.

Apparently, I jinxed the entire human race, (except everyone living in the post-modern utopia that is New Zealand) considering the subsequent fallout. March felt like an eternity on its own, April ceased to exist, summer was a blur and the only definite moments in time I can recall past that point are Halloween and the Supernatural series finale — which introduced me to a new brand of living hell. 

But I’m not the only one in a metaphorical fist-fight with the concept of time passing — for Daniella Roque, a 19-year-old UF English senior, the moment Spring 2020 ended the days started to blur together, she said. 

“I didn’t know what day of the week it was,” Roque said. “Monday felt like a Thursday, Tuesday felt like a Sunday.” 

To-do lists and calendars on Canvas have helped Roque maintain a semblance of a normal schedule, but staying on top of things is a continuous struggle when the days feel too long, yet too short at the same time, she said. 

That seems to be the curse of 2020 — a year seemingly doomed from the start. A World War III hashtag trended on Twitter within the first few days of the year, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna amongst other innocents died in a helicopter crash, President Trump was impeached by the Senate — and this was before COVID-19 crashed the “Party in the U.S.A.” 

“It’s funny because everyone said ‘2020 is going to be our year’,” Roque said. “It sounds like a ‘nice’ year — and then it was the opposite of nice.” 

But as we look towards next year, I struggle with the internal conflict of whether I should take each day as it is, or if I should have already begun preparations for my doomsday bunker. 

As a transfer student, Coralie Pettit, a 22-year-old UF English senior, only had one full “normal” semester at UF before the pandemic. Planning ahead at this point seems almost impossible since things could be upended at any moment, they said. 

“On Dec. 31, instead of going to 2021, it feels like we’re just going to Groundhog Day back to March,” Pettit said. 

A horrifying prospect indeed, but it would be in-character for this year! If we don’t get stuck in a time-loop of endless torment, Petit is looking forward to a possible vaccine — one that could allow them to leave their house, graduate and do other irresponsible 20-something activities, they said. 

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“But I also feel like there’s no way I’m anywhere near the top of the distribution list,” They said. “Healthcare workers, actually important people and people with health risks have got to be above a 22-year-old who’s going to get the vaccine and then go party.” 

I wouldn’t put it past 2021 to go full-on “28 Days Later”— but in the spirit of the holidays, I’m going to try to be a little more optimistic, even if I’m this close to perpetuating my own version of Ben Affleck depressedly smoking a cigarette on his balcony. 

Here’s to 2021 folks, may the odds be in our favor. Though if they aren’t, I’m sure there’ll be enough room in my doomsday bunker — for a small fee.

Contact Lonnie at Follow her on Twitter @lonaald.

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