Reviewing 2020 without COVID

Illustration by Monique Rojas |The Signal

This year we experienced some history-defining moments, some of which I prefer not to have experienced, and some of those are the silver linings to our rather grim year. So join us in walking down memory lane and bid a tearless farewell to 2020, the longest and shortest year of our lives.

In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” 

  • Video conferencing and remote work

Whether it was Webex, Zoom, or FaceTime, video conferencing was the real star of 2020. We all transferred from face-to-face interactions in work, school, and our social lives to working remotely from our homes. At Georgia State, students (and let us not forget about professors) shifted their studies online for the remainder of the spring semester and adjusted summer and fall 2020 semesters to be offered as online, blended, or face-to-face classes.

Georgia State’s Student Government Association also held elections this year, and they adjusted to the times through holding online quarantine meetings to govern students in times of COVID

While these are not great adjustments, and there are still significant online learning issues, the ability to transition in a somewhat smooth manner is impressive.

  • Mail-in voting

The elections this year were campaigned and conducted remotely. The number of mail-in ballots reached unprecedented highs this year as it is a safe and easy way to participate in elections while social distancing. Rates of early participation in the 2020 elections were record-breaking, at 93 million on Nov. 1

  • A record low of CO2 emissions

Quarantining and social distancing did more than benefit our fellow humans; it also helped the earth’s health. CO2 emissions predictions were to drop 7% in 2020; however, they fell to record lows from the largest CO2 emitters.  The reported numbers are 12% in the U.S., 11% in the E.U., 9% in India, and 1.7% in China

  • Black Lives Matter

The New York Times states that Black Lives Matter is possibly the largest movement of its kind in American history. The BLM protests made significant progress in racial equality, police brutality and police reform. These protests occurred in our backyard, and many students participated. 

  • Diversity

It was a historic year for the U.S., and all eyes turned on us. We had much to show in the diversity of this year’s elections — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the first vice president who is female, black and of Indian descent. 

This year’s elections were record-breaking regarding diversity and representation. Kamala Harris was not the only diverse representative elected this year; Cori Bush (first Black woman to represent Missouri in congress), Sarah McBride (first transgender state senator), Marilyn Strickland (first Korean American in congress), and Mauree Turner (first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma), among so many others.

So much more happened in 2020; we mustn’t forget the lives of those lost to the pandemic and the Beirut and Nashville explosions. Let us enter the new year with aims towards progress and the remembrance that hindsight is 20/20.