Janiya Kelly and

2020 was a peculiar and complicated year for everyone. The year was filled with odd trends, new looks, self-discovery, and isolation. Not to mention the riots, protests, and scandals on top of the pandemic. Watching and reading the news became somewhat difficult for a lot of people so everyone stuck at home searched for something to distract them. Some focused on educating themselves by becoming activists while a lot of people stayed home in bed binging Tiger King. Along with Netflix, social media became a vital part of people’s lives. It kept humans connected to the outside world. From dying your hair, recipes with the unnecessary use of Cheetos, to education on intersectionality, made social media the world’s new playground, a recess from coronation. 


Everything was so sudden and unexpected which left no one prepared for. Especially when students, teachers, and staff had to switch from in-person school to online.  “I stayed the whole day after the announcement to clean and pack whatever I thought I would need for the two weeks out not knowing if we were going to have to be locked in longer. I needed more information.”, stated Ms.Ladas, the school’s head librarian. When asked about how they felt after the announcement, 10th grader Alexandra A. and 11th grader Fernanda R. said they were happy to have an extra two weeks to spring break and even left early right after fourth period. Little did they know the two-week break became a year and a half of isolation.


The world was already on edge when the pandemic hit however may 25th pushed the United States off the cliff. The homicide of George Floyd opened Americans’ eyes to what police brutality looks like. It divided the country and as a result, created major civil unrest. Protests were soon organized and a few turned into riots. Ms.McBride, the head of the Visual Arts Pathway, went to one of the many peaceful Black Lives Matter protests at Hartwell Park in Long Beach. Organized by a Millikan student, they chanted and held signs without any police involvement. McBride heard about the protest through social media which is a shared experience among everyone who went to protests. Social media served as a new education tool for activists and a way to get information to everyone almost immediately. 


On this new playground trends shot through communities like bullets. Dying hair, eyebrow slits, shaving off eyebrows and even mullets were some of the many trends on TikTok. Being alone for so long gave many people the window to try new looks as trends came and went. One senior, Janiya K., stated “Dying my hair was something I’ve always wanted. Being at home helped me do it because if I didn’t like it no one would see it.It gave me the chance to explore what I felt I should look like, as long as we were home I was free to look however I felt without the social pressure to fit in.”


The pandemic along with all that happened during it fundamentally changed a lot of people. The isolation allowed people to explore who they are on the outside and within.  Teens learned a lot about themselves, about the world even, all from their beds. Social media created activists and helped people discover sides of them that they hadn’t known existed before the pandemic. Coronacation was difficult to get through but you survived and came back stronger.