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Year in Review: Why the Holidays are a Time for Celebration and Reflection

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

As we draw closer to the end of December, we start to see others travel home to their loved ones, we see holiday decorations littered through streets, and for some of us, we see the snow fall. The holidays are coined as the time of the year in which we celebrate and cherish time spent with our loved ones. This time also marks the closing out of another year that may be ending in a different way than it began. As the year ends, it presents us all with an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed us by. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The University of Georgia started out the year of 2022 triumphant. After dethroning American college football’s reigning national championship, they won their first football title since 1980. The University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Nick Saban’s dynasty, fell to The University of Georgia Bulldogs, one of the team’s rivals, after winning 6 national titles in the past decade. Starting the year off with quite an upset for Crimson Tide fans. 

Conversely, after six years of conflict, The United States women’s soccer team came to a settlement that included a multimillion-dollar payment to the players and a promise by their federations to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national team. Under this agreement, several current and former players will share twenty-four million dollar payments from U.S to back pay the athletes and a tacit admission that compensation between the men’s and women’s teams’ had been unequal for several years. 

While strides were being made toward equal pay in American soccer, north of the border thousands of protesters and their industrial trucks occupied the streets of Canada’s capital with a pledge to not vacate unless all mandates and restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic were eradicated. This demonstration lasted close to three weeks while its repercussions spread through the entire year as it transitioned from a protest of long haul truckers to a far-right movement. 

As this radical movement festered in Canada, the leader of another died in Syria during a raid by the United States special forces. 

The death of the leader of the Islamic State was the result of premeditated raid where two dozen helicopter-borne commandos were dispatched to capture of kill Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi who had been the driving force behind the genocide of the Yazidi religious minority in northwestern Iraq, enslavement of thousands, and many other heinous practises. 

This event could fall in the “good of 2022” but only minimizes risk and civilian harm in the short term and it does not alienate the organization as a whole. 

While the leader of ISIS was being taken down, the leader of Russia was taking over. In February of 2022, Putin, Prime Minister of Russia, invaded its bordering country, Ukraine. Explosions were initially reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and the Donbas region to commence Putin’s efforts to take over the country by force. 

This year we have seen a championship upset and upset champions, radical movement leaders rise and fall, but we have also seen the world go back in time. As the United States Supreme court votes to eliminate one’s constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years, we saw the American healthcare system go back in time. 

On the contrary, Maya Angelou, writer and poet, became the first black woman depicted in the American quarter as part of a series commemorating pioneering women.

As America traveled back in time, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, in Versailles, voted to abolish some time. This bureau unanimously voted to abandon the leap second. 

“The leap second was devised as a way to align the international atomic time scale, in use since 1967 and derived from the vibration of cesium atoms, with the slightly slower time that Earth keeps as it rotates. In effect, whenever atomic time is one second ahead, it stops for a second to allow Earth to catch up. Ten leap seconds were inserted into the atomic time scale when the fudge was unveiled in 1972. Twenty-seven more have been added since.” 

Wiltz, Chris. “It’s Time to Leave the Leap Second in the Past.” Engineering at Meta, 27 July 2022, https://engineering.fb.com/2022/07/25/production-engineering/its-time-to-leave-the-leap-second-in-the-past/.

Admittedly these moments in 2022 have virtually no underlying correlation-or do they? One could argue that even as time passes, the general premise of history prevails over modern ideology. We saw fundamental rights established decades ago ripped out from under the better part of an entire country while newly found equal pay entitlement was established in the same country. Are we in a vicious cycle of taking one step forward then three steps backward? We know Tom Brady is- but are we all? 

The holidays present us with a unique opportunity to look back and forward at the same time. We look forward to the new year with hope that it could possibly be better than the one ending. We also look back at the past twelve months of our lives and face the question of whether or not we are in the exact same standing as the last time we closed out a year. Upon briefly analyzing what has transpired in our world this past year, we saw history repeat itself, history be made, and attempted alteration of history.

As you celebrate the holidays and the year ending I invite you to reflect on this past year; in your life, the lives of those around you, and the state of the world as a whole over the past year. Has anything really changed or has another twelve months just passed as you aged? 

Julia Robertson

Queen's U '24

Julia is a third-year Economics student at Queen's University.