College Student Perspective: First Decade of the 21st Century

College Student Perspective: First Decade of the 21st Century


Photo Credit: Time Magazine

By Lynda Lopez, First Year, University of Chicago

Another Thanksgiving Break has
ended, which means 2010 is fast coming to a close. Every year seems to fly by
and the latest Time
Magazine feature
serves as a testament to that.

In their first annual TimeFrames
issue, Time takes a look at the last ten years and tries to bring some meaning
to it all. As Times Executive Editor Nancy Gibbs quoted in an article,
“The first century of the 21st century moved so fast that it
was easy to have the experience but miss the meaning.”

Throughout the magazine, various
writers sift through the biggest events of the last ten years and try to
emphasis the importance and overall meaning of each of them in our lives. From
the 2000 Presidential Election to Hurricane Katrina, the issue brings back a
flood of memories from the past decade.

In many ways, this first decade of
the 21st century represents my first one in relation to world
events. I cannot recall much besides play and egocentric activities in the
years before 2000.

Life was about me and enjoying my
time as a kid. World events didn’t really matter yet.  This may also be
true for many college students. We all, for the most part, came of age during
the first decade of this century. Our vantage point of history is unique and
perhaps surprising for many. For me, at least, it feels odd to have lived
through events that are now considered part of history. As a 19 year old young
girl/woman/lady, I still feel as if my childhood just happened yesterday. It is
mind-blowing to think of it all as mere “history.”

The events that Time has compressed
in its magazine sort of appear like living memories in my mind.

2001: 9/11 Attacks.

2003: Iraqi Invasion.

2005: Hurricane Katrina.

2008: Obama Election.

2010: BP Explosion

Despite the fact that the past
decade seems to have flown by, the world has changed dramatically in the first
decade of the 2000s.

In 2004, there were only 1 million
users on Facebook. Now, there are over 500 million users on the popular social
networking site. In 2000, 55.1 billion stamped letters were mailed. So far in
2010, only 29.8 billion letters have been sent.  In 2000, there were 0
countries with legalized same-sex marriage. Currently, there are 10 countries
with legalized same-sex marriage, including two Latin American countries. Perhaps
the most saddening figure is the one that states that the U.S. prison
population increased by over 200,000 over the first ten years of the century.

The fabric of the world has changed
over the past ten years and it will only continue to change, without us
noticing the larger significance when the change is taking place. The best we
can do is to try to take notice of what is happening rather than retreating
into our own individual lives.

All in all, I hope you enjoyed
reading this blog. After all, I am lucky you even chose to read this since
there are 130 million registered blogs out there compared to 3 million in 2004.
I wonder what compelled you to read this one over the murmurings of all the
other millions of blogs.

I’ll leave you with that thought.

Note: This
post is based on Time Magazine’s premise that the first decade comprises
2000-2010 even though, technically, the end of 2009 signaled the end of the
tenth year.
Check out Time
  for more articles regarding the first decade.

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