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The Daily Illini

Grueling 2016 brought big picture frustrations

Shankari Sureshbabu, Columnist

Let’s begin with the expected and obvious: This last semester really was the worst.

If 2016 is blacked out in history as the year that logic and reasoning went out the window, I won’t be surprised. There will be books about this year.

In 50 years, people at a party are going to shoot out hypotheticals about how if they could go back and change the course of history, they’re going to go back to 2016. The only person that won this year was probably Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Now, I’m being dramatic, but there were definitely a lot of double take-worthy moments this semester. A lot of “what if” moments coming to life, which made me scared and energized often in the same day.

The obvious event that everyone will be talking about, probably for a long, long time into the future will be Trump’s win. Along with that, historians will look back and see Brexit, countless beloved celebrities passing away, along with increasing climate change problems, continuous turmoil in the Middle East and a nation obsessed with memes of frogs, gorillas and bees.

On paper, it doesn’t look very good, and when you see this in the paper, every single day, you can start to think the world as we know it is ending.

But you know what, I got my first job in 2016. I got to pet-sit the cutest puppy in the world for a week. I accidentally let her run away, but this is a list of positive things.

I successfully made a five-course dinner for my parents. I didn’t bomb that one Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering exam, stunning the world and me momentarily. I met a couple of my closest friends. Hi Bo, hi Lily! Look, you’re in a column!

I met a lot of great people actually, who all had moments like these. Moments that weren’t televised, written about or maybe even remembered all that much. They are the unsung heroes of this seemingly devastating year full of failure, rejection and heartbreak.

This year will come and go, but losing sight of the little victories that happened all around us would be the real tragic loss. These memories could be as simple as tripping and falling during a piggyback ride, or watching “The Bachelor” with your friends every week.

Don’t get me wrong — this year was absolute hell at times. From start to end, I have never had a more grueling year. Note: This doesn’t mean much because I’m kind of a spoiled brat.

Still, I think a lot of people are also on the same page as me. I’ve watched so many people in my life struggle, hurt and cry through this year. It feels like the entire world could use a refresh button right about now.

But in times of trouble, letting ourselves get depressed or failing to appreciate the gifts we take for granted every day is the worst thing we could do.

I asked a bunch of my friends for good memories they had this past semester, and they all started off saying that they couldn’t think of anything. But with some effort, they all remembered wonderful experiences they’ve had these last few months.

Whether you personally thought this year was alright or not, we can all come together to appreciate that we’re almost through!

After this coming week of finals-induced hell, and probably a couple more weeks of drama just for good measure, it’ll be the new year. A new beginning to hopefully a better chapter to our lives of us holding onto our promises of procrastinating less and working out more (Hey, a girl can hope). For the time being, let’s end this semester and year with a bang.

And come Dec. 31, let’s celebrate the best day of this year — the last one — because I just can’t do 2016 anymore.

Shankari is a sophomore in LAS.

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3 Comments

  • Richard Smith

    Well, we are all lucky to live in a first world country. Not in a nightmare like Kenya (where the father of the most incompetent President in American history crawled from, to leave pregnant a teenager, not even of legal age and of debatable morals, from Arkansas, resulting in the embarrassing disaster of a “leader” we had for the last eight years).

    Not in a hellhole like India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, where the average citizen doesn’t have the luxury of whining about “global warming” myths, insofar there is not enough drinkable water, women are tortured, disfigured and murdered in “honor killings”, a restroom is a bourgeois extravaganza, and few bother to wash their hands after doing…. whatever they have to do, in the middle of the street, in everyone’s sight.

    Everything considered, in the real big picture, we have much to be thankful for, even between Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas – the first time in many years when we’ll hear a President say “Merry Christmas” again, rather than to bow to the Saudi king, or praise invented merits of the backwards cult of islam and its most representative ambassadors of peace, ISIS.

    Have a good vacation, Miss Sureshbabu, enjoy every advantage this wonderful country offers us, and Merry Christmas!

  • Richard Smith

    Daily Illini, do you REALLY believe that censorship can modify REALITY? I’ve commented on articles for many years and I have never encountered such a “delete button” – happy bunch of teenagers.

    If you really believe in your magic “reality”, enjoy President Hillary…. obviously your passionate propaganda helped her chances a lot.

  • yourbud217

    Well said, Richard!

    .

    “Well, we are all lucky to live in a first world country. Not in a nightmare like Kenya (where the father of the most incompetent President in American history came from, resulting in the embarrassing disaster of a “leader” we had for the last eight years).

    Also not in a real hellhole, the type of fifth world “country” where the average citizen doesn’t have the luxury of whining, while comfortably heated/cooled by the dreaded polluting “fuel”, about “global warming” myths, insofar there are other, more stringent frustrations. Say, the caste system is not dismantled, there is not enough drinkable water, women are tortured, disfigured and murdered in “justified gang rapes”, “honor killings” and the like, a restroom is a bourgeois extravaganza, and few bother to wash their hands after doing…. whatever they have to do, in the middle of the street, in everyone’s sight, infectious diseases are rampant, out of control …. how is THAT for frustrating?

    Everything considered, in the real big picture, we have SO much to be thankful for, even between Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas – the first time in many years when we’ll hear our new President say “Merry Christmas” again, rather than to bow to the Saudi king.

    Have a good vacation, Miss Sureshbabu, enjoy every advantage this wonderful country offers us, and, oh yes, Merry Christmas!”