This month marked the beginning of a new decade. As with the start of every year, people are reminiscing and creating resolutions, but due to this important time marker, they are also looking further back over the past 10 years as a whole and turning toward the next decade with hopeful eyes.
One such person is engineering freshman Lillian Mozisek, who said she has seen herself grow in her relationships, knowledge, and in her open-mindedness toward others and their opinions over the past decade.
“I lived in Houston, a very international city, so I was able to meet people from a lot of different places, get exposed to a lot of different cultures and along with pretty much being able to research whatever I wanted,” Mozisek said. “It just made me a lot more open to what there is.”
In the world as a whole, agricultural economics senior Dylan Gonzales said he has observed a change in culture, particularly that of accepting an individual’s uniqueness.
“There have certainly been a lot of just social changes in a lot of day-to-day operations, sort of expanding what we know as normal.” Gonzales said. “I think the word ‘normal’ has sort of diversified now to where everybody can be considered normal, and it’s no longer more like where you want to hide and now you actually can be who you want to be.”
One specific change that has occurred in recent years has been the rise of social media, which has been both a positive and a negative, Mozisek said.
“Literally everything changes because people can talk more,” Mozisek said. “There’s a lot more polarization; People aren’t forced to talk with people with other opinions and so you can find yourself in a box. On the flip side, it does allow you to find people that you couldn’t otherwise.”
With the growing prevalence of the internet, the way people communicate has been vastly altered. Journalism professor Tom Burton has been working in the media since high school and has observed the societal changes accompanying this growth.
“There are so many voices that have a broader platform than what they could before,” Burton said. “There are a lot of benefits to that because there are people that had been shut out of the conversation before that now have a voice. The problem is it’s now very noisy, and there are a lot of inauthentic voices out there who are spreading lies and using deception techniques that are hurting society.”
Another important alteration in popular culture is the length of trends, and the intensity and size of those trends and other forms of entertainment.
“In decades past, a trend would be almost an era,” Burton said. “Even disco, was like three years, whereas trends now tend to be three months. They can have a lot of leverage or perceived leverage, and yet fan-bases have become more concentrated. You have fewer people really engaged with something, but they are very engaged.”
However, since the world is constantly changing, Burton said he believes the best way to prepare for and accept whatever will come is to be adaptable.
“The key to being adaptable is to have a core essence of who you are and what’s important and those are the things you don’t compromise on,” Burton said. “But the job you’re doing, the tools you’re using, where you live, the people you hang out with, those are all adaptable situations and it’s not a ‘blowing in the wind with no destination’ kind of thing, but it’s knowing that the wind is going to blow you in different directions than you might think.”
As with much of the new generation, Mozisek said she hopes that during the next decade advances are made both in the exploration of the universe and the growth of the Energy Revolution.
“More corporations are advancing the space program which is good because you have like a second Space Race almost between companies,” Mozisek said. “I’m also really hoping they fix batteries because that’s definitely our biggest problem in energy consumption. You can’t bring about too many renewables if you don’t have a place to store energy.”
People such as Gonzales are looking forward to a better and brighter future in the next 10 years in both culture and the world as a whole.
“I do think that things are actually going to get better,” Gonzales said. “I think there’s great people who are innovating and creating new, great things that are going to, one, make the world a better place, and two, make people feel safer and hopefully everybody is more comfortable with that.”