Looking ahead

Editor reflects on what she hopes to see in the new year

As a teen in 2021, I have had a unique opportunity to observe some of the most monumental events in the course of American history. As teens, we have seen some of the most hateful behavior amplified through social media, and we have seen harmful stereotypes perpetuated by the people in charge. It’s up to us in 2022 to change the narrative. Currently, we have the incredible opportunity to change how society thinks and behaves. As we enter the new year, we need to start thinking about doing things for the greater good and the impact of our actions. 

   I wish I could say it’s a surprise that from January-September of 2021, a 9% increase in deaths from gun-related violence occurred. However, given the fact that month after month I get word of yet another case of gun-related violence, I simply cannot say this fact is surprising (Gun Violence Archive). But, while it is not surprising, I can most definitely say this fact is horrifying. When will enough people die to convince lawmakers to start rectifying our horrific reality, especially as students? While this situation is easy to feel hopeless in, there is a solution yet to be implemented. In 2022 we can write legislation into law, which will prevent the wrong people from having access to a gun and regulate what types of guns are permissible in certain circumstances. 

   Most people would think gun violence is far too much worry for a teen, yet there is still more that needs to change. It is shocking to think that we are entering the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years of fear, illness, and isolation. Yet after three years, some still do not take proper precautions to protect themselves and others from contracting the deadly virus. While masks have proven to be an effective tool in the fight against the pandemic – 79% effective at preventing transmission of COVID-19 – some still choose not to wear them (PNAS). While vaccines have proven to be the most effective way of preventing COVID-19 symptoms from becoming severe – Pfizer has an efficacy rate of 95% – they have become a controversial political tool (Yale Medicine). 

   In 2021, I have found myself teaching others far too often the golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Growing up, I found this rule to be at the heart of many of my elementary school lessons. We frequently practiced the meaning of this rule and its importance. Throughout my life, I have seen actions from many that suggest a lack of knowledge surrounding this rule. Every time I read about hate speech and discrimination in the news and hear about it from friends, I cannot help but consider where we went wrong as a society in terms of treating others the way you want to be treated. In order to properly care for each other, we need to unanimously adopt this rule as a part of our lives. 

   In 2022, I hope for new policies that reflect the changes that many have wanted to see for so long. Do your part as a citizen to be kind, it’s never too late to start.