BLACK:Time for a reality check



Brigid Black

Believe it or not, in just a few weeks it will be time to break out those goofy plastic top hats, pop open a bottle of champagne and wave goodbye to the whirlwind of a year that was 2008.

In a sense, it feels like we were just buying new calendars for 2008 featuring scenes of Ireland and Paris and close-ups of oddly dressed kittens and puppies. The year was fresh and new, and what was to come was for the most part unknown.

Then, months somehow became mere moments. Spring and summer were short and sweet, for cold January weather resurfaced in December in what was even more instantaneous than the blink of an eye.

Without a doubt, each year seems to pass even more quickly than the previous one, especially in the minds of Villanova seniors, who are just months away the Pomp and Circumstance. For these Villanovans, 2008 marks their last full year as college students – a thought seemingly too surreal to comprehend at the moment.

For other students, perhaps thoughts of 2008 bring to mind significant local happenings at Villanova.

Arguably, the year’s most exciting moments occurred when Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Michelle Obama, wife to Democratic candidate Barack Obama, spoke at the University within weeks of each other, igniting a campus that proved to be more politically active than ever before.

Or maybe when you reminisce about 2008, your thoughts will instead turn to one or more of the notably record-breaking events that took place in the national and international domains.

August’s Summer Olympic Games in Beijing left many glued to TV screens all around the world as Michael Phelps swam his way into the history books, winning a record eight gold medals at a single Games.

History was again made when Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first black candidate to accomplish that task.

Unfortunately, not all record-breaking moments in 2008 were positive. By the end of the year, it was confirmed that a global financial crisis of a magnitude not felt since the Great Depression was underway.

With the American and European markets in turmoil, it’s no wonder that the holidays may not be quite as happy for many students and their families. People across the nation are struggling to pay monthly bills and to make ends meet, and Villanova is no exception.

It makes sense why so many graduating seniors are scared – or even absolutely terrified – of what lies ahead in a post-college world of economic uncertainty and potential lack of opportunity.

Then again, if 2008 has made us this fearful for what’s to come, perhaps this is why we need the holidays now more than ever – it’s a time not to get caught up in the gift-buying frenzy of what we want but to actually take a step back and enjoy what we have in our lives.

In a money-hungry society of consumerism and survival of the wealthiest, what do we have when we look past the material things? What might normally sound corny may be more relevant than ever in today’s world: Through it all, what we are left with is each other. At the end of a chaotic year, value those most valuable to you. It’s a reality check whose obviousness often escapes us.

It’s almost time to say goodbye to what has been a bittersweet 2008 for many. Endings beget new beginnings, so let’s take on 2009 with optimism and an open mind. Perhaps our hope will beget happiness too.


Brigid Black is a senior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at [email protected].