New decade inspires reflection, hope

By Jane Bowden
Managing Editor

Binge-watching “The Office” on Netflix, sharing “forever alone” and “ermahgerd” memes on Tumblr and trading Silly Bandz like they were Pokémon cards — these are just a few of the things that defined the 2010s.

Now, with the dawn of a new decade only weeks away, many people — including students at the College — are reflecting on what challenges and memories the 2010s have brought them and what their hopes are for the next 10 years.

Students look forward to seizing the upcoming year (Instagram).

“Looking back on the past decade, I’d say so much has changed with technology, schooling and overall the world we live in,” said Dan Natoli, a senior communication studies major. “(The) 2010s brought a good four years of high school, college and a ton of friends I made and grew apart from over the last couple of years.”

Natoli felt that the most significant challenge he faced was the transition from high school to college.

“Living away from home was not easy at first, but I became more comfortable over time living alone,” he said. “You make friends that help keep you sane and learn to deal with situations without the help of your parents. It was a big challenge, but (it) ended up being a great thing for me to learn.”

Similar to Natoli, Julia Richards, a senior psychology major, also had trouble adjusting to a new set of expectations after she transferred to the College last fall.

“(My) biggest challenge (was) transferring to TCNJ,” Richards said. “It was a big change and (took) a lot of adjusting, but my family, my friends and my Griffin gang helped me significantly, and I feel more at place this year. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I have great friends, connected with my favorite professor more and I am lucky enough to be part of a great organization.”

Karam Hallak, a sophomore computer science major, said that moving to the U.S. in 2016 after living in a war in Syria for six years proved to be his biggest challenge.

“It was challenging having to adapt to a new culture, language, mindset, school system and all of that in such a short time,” Hallak said.

For Jonas Brothers fans like Samantha Ratti, a senior business management major, the decade brought a plethora of lows and highs, such as when the band broke up in 2013, but then reunited earlier this year.

“I have so many great memories from this past decade, but one of the more recent highlights was seeing the Jonas Brothers,” Ratti said. “It made me feel really nostalgic and excited. It can be stressful being a college student, and their concert made me feel stress-free and 12 years old again.”

Many of the decade-defining songs, such as One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and Drake’s “In My Feelings” also brought back memories from some of the Lions’ teenage years.

“Whenever I hear ‘Low’ by Flo Rida, it immediately brings me back to middle school dances,” said Samantha Allen, a senior marketing major. “Those were definitely some of my favorite memories as a teenager.”

Looking forward to the future, Hallak wishes to continue working hard at the College in order to secure his happiness down the road.

“I want to just become a better version of myself every day and work my butt off because it’s now that I’m laying the foundation to a bright future,” Hallak said.

With the end of the fall semester approaching, many students have academics on their mind, such as Ryan Weltner, a junior mathematics major, who said that he would like to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 2020s.

The turn of the decade also means that spring graduation is fast approaching for senior Lions, many of whom are hopeful that the new decade will bring them chances to advance in their professions and achieve their dreams.

“My biggest hope for the 2020s is to build my future by hopefully going to graduate school and gaining opportunities that will set me up for my career,” Richards said. 

Ratti agreed, adding that regardless of where she ends up working in the near future, she wants to make the most of where she is.

“In the 2020s, I am hoping to find my place in a career I love and to be happy,” Ratti said.

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