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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

In my personal opinion, the 90s/early 2000s were some of the best moments in time to grow up in. It was all so rich from the music, shows, films, food and fashion! Some qualities were definitely questionable—especially with some of the fashion. There are so many outfit choices that I look back on and really wonder what I was thinking lol. Life was so much simpler back then as well; there were no social media platforms or IPhones…what a time it was! I cannot imagine what it is like growing up at a young age in today’s society when so much has progressed and expanded. There are definitely some pluses to what we have now, but the early-mid 2000s will always hold a place in my heart. Here are some of my favorite parts from growing up during that era!

The Movies

I absolutely love watching these throwback movies, there was so much range from Disney Originals to the classics! Some of my favorites for Disney are:

  • High School Musical (2006)
  • Camp Rock (2008)
  • Princess Protection Program (2009)
  • Cadet Kelly (2002)
  • Jump In (2007)
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (2009)
  • Starstruck (2010) 

I remember that when High School Musical came out my older sister had a party for it; events like that definitely do not happen anymore. It really doesn’t get better than Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu or The Jonas Brothers. When I was younger my siblings and I used to watch movies all the time in the car, and especially on long road trips. One that always seemed to circulate was Cheaper By The Dozen (2003); I mean who wasn’t in love with Charlie Baker, I know I was! There was so much constant chaos in that film, but it was super funny and heartwarming. The second one is great too! 

On top of the Disney Originals the 2000s created some pretty amazing rom-coms that I always seem to go back to. I love so many of them, but to name a few there is:

  •  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
  •  13 Going on 30 (2004)
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
  • John Tucker Must Die (2006)
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
  •  Aquamarine (2006)

I would always pretend to be a mermaid like Aquamarine whenever I was in a pool or at the beach—I was also obsessed with her blue highlights! 13 Going on 30 definitely hits differently compared to back then now that I am 20 and becoming an adult like Jenna Rink. Soon I will be her having this big job in the city, an apartment and navigating my 20s, but for now I will try to not stress about it and listen to what Billy Joel says in his song “Vienna.” He sings “Slow down you crazy child, Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while, It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two.” The song constantly recurs throughout the film and sets an important message; it is saying that it is okay to just live, be young and not stress about being ahead or following the status quo of what is expected of young adults. I think that is something that we all need to remember sometimes: that it is okay to not have it all together. 

The Shows

Some of my favorite shows growing up were:

  • Hannah Montanta (2006-2011)
  • Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005-2008), The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011)
  • Sonny with a Chance (2009-2011)
  • ICarly (2007-2012)
  • Zoey 101 (2005-2008)
  • Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (2004-2007)

These shows were literally the best! Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers was the first concert that I ever saw, and I loved them so much and still do. I thought that Alex (Selena Gomez) was the best in Wizard’s because she was super funny, sarcastic, a rebel and seemed to have so much fun. Zoey 101 and Suite Life on Deck took place in super exciting locations; I would have loved to attend PCA with the beautiful view and campus (location Pepperdine University) or go to Seven Seas High School with Zack and Cody living on a cruise ship. Hannah Montana (Miley) had the dream walk-in closet, from the design, clothing and rotating racks! I find that Ned’s Declassified and Sonny with a Chance were some of the underrated shows, both so chaotic! I remember watching the last episodes of these with my sisters and how we would always shout “it’s back on as we went to grab snacks during the commercials,” such a funny time. It felt like the end of an era when those shows ended—it wasn’t the same after. 


The 2000s had some of the best, especially with the snacks! My go-tos were:

  • Gripz
  • Yoplait Trix Yogurt
  • Scooby-Doo Gummies
  • Lunchables
  • Dunkaroos

I loved all of these, Gripz were my absolute favorite! Lunchables seemed so cool to me at the time, I would mostly pick the ones that had the best dessert options lol. They were so gross and not that great in quality, but the presentation made them look good. The cabinets at my house were always packed with food and still are. There were so many options. My mom would always pack the best lunches when I was young, she would always give so much food! Sometimes my friends and I would trade snacks too. The summers were the best when the ice cream truck would always come by the cul de sac, my usually was a tangy push-pop. The gummies were so good too, I would always wanna grab Fruit Roll Ups, Gushers or others like the Scooby-Doo Gummies. Grocery shopping with my parents used to be so much fun to me, running down the ayles and throwing stuff in the cart was such a thrill.

Games and Toys

There were so many from boardgames to:

  • Wii
  • Rock Band
  • Card games
  • Outdoor activities

I remember when we got our Rock Band and Wii set, my siblings and I would be playing for hours! Our usuals to play on the Wii were Mario Kart, Smash Bros and Wii Sports; I would always choose Princess Peach as my Mario Kart character. Card games were the best, whenever we were down the Cape someone would always have a deck to play Go Fish or Bullshit. In my neighborhood we would be outside all the time during the summer and winter. The summer consisted of man hunt, ghosts in the graveyard, cops and robbers, ball games in the cul de sac or water gun fights. It was such an amazing time, we were all around the same ages and our neighborhood is a dead end so cars never came down. Ghosts in the graveyard or manhunt were super intense, there were tons of places to hide and many people. During the winters we would make snow forts, have snowball fights and find places to sled. It was a big deal to us as losing was not in our vocabularies; a simple snowball fight was so important. My favorite part of playing in the snow was coming back inside for a cup of hot chocolate: the best winter drink. 

Sometimes I wish that there was a time machine that could be used to go back, not to change anything, but to experience it all again for the first time. Everything was just so much easier, there was no social media and there were less worries being young. I feel like kids these days do not participate in much of what I used to do, people seem more glued to technology. When I was a kid I was so excited to be older and see how I would turn out, but did not fully realize what I would be leaving behind. Even though I cannot go back I am fortunate that I was able to have those experiences, from the food, tv, games and the music too! The fashion was interesting too, some trends were definitely questionable though lol. I still wouldn’t trade it all for anything, the early-mid 2000s was truly an iconic era!

Hi my name is Karly and I am in my Senior Year at Emmanuel College. I am studying Communications with a Minor in Marketing and Writing. I plan to someday work in marketing and live in Boston. In my free time I love to walk around the city, read, get coffee, see my friends and family. For a fun fact, I have my Cosmetology License!