As my classmates and I prepare to leave college, I find myself repeatedly entering into the same conversation with my peers. The discussion revolves around how we have changed since we arrived at UR as nave freshman with only the experiences of high school to guide our opinions. Now, the conversation continues: We are exiting undergraduate college with new facts under our belts and a new way of thinking, as provided by the University.
My mind, however, drifts to a subtly different line of reflection. While it is clear to me that I, and my peers, have changed significantly since Orientation Week 2006, a more complicated question is how much the world around us has also changed. What follows is a consideration of what has changed and what has stayed the same in the world outside our college bubble since the class of 2010 entered college in September 2006.
Change: George W. Bush handed the presidency over to Barack Obama. Who actually believed that would happen in 2006?
No Change: Russia. You may think there’s a new guy in charge, but I know of a man who’s name starts with a ‘V” and ends with a ‘ladamir” who would disagree.
Change: Robert Downey Jr. is a good actor again!
No Change: There’s still no peace in the Middle East. President Bush, like President Bill Clinton before him, attempted to add some merit to his name as his presidential era ended. Like President Clinton, his efforts failed. So far, President Obama is having just as much luck as his two predecessors.
Change: Remember when camera phones were in? Well now we have Jesus phones. I heard the next phones bring on the rapture.
No Change: Libertarians still can’t win elections. Ron Paul, whose backing on college campuses sometimes looked larger than it was because of the intense fervor of sophomore and junior economics majors, should probably look to find another job. For the Fed, perhaps?
Change: We’ve finally entered the third dimension! Since the monstrosity of a box office hit ‘Avatar,” it’s no longer enough to watch movies in 2-D. Now we get to experience stories as if they were happening all around us. What would we do without James Cameron? We’d probably still be stuck trying to figure out how to turn an exciting, or some might even say ‘titanic,” cruise crash into a three hour love saga.
No Change: Despite excited forecasters predicting the subjugation of the Western world under Chinese rule within the next decade, the United States has weathered the Great Recession and emerged as the world’s dominant superpower. Take that, Jackie Chan.
Change: The tea party is back in style. No longer a movement that limits itself to the mundane protesting that is spilling others’ tea overboard, the new National Tea Party focuses on creating the most insulting posters and protests possible. Watch out, Bill O’Reilly, I heard Michael Johns is after your job.
No Change: The Yankees were the best team in the MLB in 2009, proving to many New Yorkers that money can still buy happiness.
Change: The New York Times is switching back to making people pay for online readership, signifying that they really have no idea how they’re going to make money in a paperless world.
No Change: We’re still in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Epstein is a member of the class of 2010.