A Look at 2018

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

Another year – full of ups, downs, twists and turns – has come to a close. Like all other years, 2018 brought smiles and tears to the world with all the surprises it held in store.

January 1, 2018 also made waves for being the day California legalized marijuana.

February began with the triumphant victory of the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The sports-related enthusiasm continued – though with some tension seeping in – as the Winter Olympics in South Korea led to the North and South finally agreeing that peace talks were necessary. The North Koreans entered the Olympics together – and had a unified ice hockey team – with South Korea, making this one of the rare occasions when the North Koreans could cross the southern border and the first time in a decade when both Koreas marched together waving their flag of unification. 92 countries participated in the Winter Olympics, but Norway took home the most medals. In addition, an asteroid passed close by the Earth, a flu outbreak swept the nation, and a high school shooting in Florida on Valentine’s Day left 17 innocent students dead.

Being one of the first legends lost that year, the visionary scientist Stephen Hawking died March 13. The day right after saw millions of high school students nationwide participate in walkouts at their schools to protest for stricter gun laws, started in response to the school shooting in Florida the past month. The walkout also served as a way to pay tribute to the casualties. Another gun protest march was held March 23 in major cities for children and adults alike, known as the March for Our Lives.

Easter and April Fool’s Day fell on the same exact day in 2018, leading to strange feelings from many. Lots of people pulled silly, Easter-themed pranks to celebrate both holidays at the same time. Unfortunately those who had egg cravings after Easter had passed could not get their fill come the middle of the month, as over 200 million eggs were recalled in 9 states due to another outbreak of salmonella April 15; a similar bacterial outbreak affecting a commonly-consumed food occurred April 27 as romaine lettuce was recalled for containing harmful amounts of E. coli. Popular musician Avicii died April 20 by cutting himself with a broken wine bottle; he was only 28 upon his death.

May saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally get married on the 18th. The NFL also controversially announced May 23 that if players were to kneel during the national anthem, their team would be forced to pay a fine; all players who refuse to stand for the national anthem would be asked to remain in the locker room during the anthem.

June is Pride Month, when events promoting the acceptance and awareness of LGBTQIA+ individuals worldwide are plentiful. In Istanbul, Turkey, one pride parade held June 29 was especially significant as it was held despite Turkey’s ban on such parades. An earthquake also devastated Takatsuki, a city in the prefecture of Osaka, Japan, earlier on in the month. California voted on a bill to split the state up into three different states June 13; while it garnered enough support up to potentially appear on the November ballot, it ended up not appearing due to an overrule by the Supreme Court of California.

In July, a Thai soccer team and their coach entered a cave as part of an expedition to celebrate one of the team members’ birthdays, but ended up getting trapped there as heavy rains flooded the cave and rendered them unable to leave. British divers eventually found the team and an international team of rescuers was formed to bring all 13 boys and men to safety by July 10. Seattle banned plastic utensils and straws July 2 in order to help protect the environment. July 16, Amazon Prime Day, saw the website crash due to too many people trying to use it and ended up having detrimental effects to most users. Michael Phelps’ 100-meter butterfly swimming record was beaten by a 10-year-old July 31, and France won the World Cup against Croatia.

Two more significant individuals left us in August. Singing superstar Aretha Franklin passed away earlier in the month, while Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain dying towards the end. Wildfires in California continued to grow until one became the largest one California had ever seen in history, and Lombok, Indonesia saw an earthquake lead to over 400 people dying just days before Indonesia’s Independence Day. Due to the remoteness of some locations in Indonesia, aid was somewhat slow to give and get.

The prefecture of Osaka that had been rebuilding from the earthquake in June saw another natural disaster come in September in the form of the devastating Typhoon Jebi, whose impact extended all the way to Kyoto and throughout the Kansai region. Finishing off a summer of extreme weather in Japan, another earthquake struck Hokkaido further north and led to mass destruction and landslides. Apple expanded upon their futuristic iPhone X line with three new additions in their yearly Keynote, and the month was a triumph for LGBT individuals as India and Chile implemented new laws that legalize practices benefiting their gay and transgender communities.

Controversy took the country by storm in October when Brett Kavanaugh, who had previously been the subject of an FBI investigation regarding a claim of sexual misconduct against him, was confirmed as Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court. One day before the confirmation, the first “presidential alert” notification, which is intended to be used for emergencies and cannot be shut off, was tested nationwide by FEMA. 200 million phones, approximately, received the notification. New York City allowed gender-neutral and non-binary individuals to mark off their gender as “X” on their birth certificates October 9, making it the fifth city to do so. Sears, which had been a dominant company for the United states for over 100 years, declared bankruptcy October 15.

November saw the United States ban the majority of Juul flavors from stores, leaving only menthol and tobacco flavors allowed on store shelves. Bermuda also reversed their gay marriage ban. In addition, North America broke records for having the greatest snow cover throughout the month since 1966. Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics, and Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, died this month.

December came in strong, with the death of George W. Bush – and a giant snowstorm devastating the southern United States, leading to a massive power outage. In addition, some were even killed in the brutal winds and precipitation. An unexpected tsunami and volcano hit Indonesia December 22 in the middle of a rock concert, killing over 200. To end the year, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” became the first-ever song not from the 2010s to become the Spotify Global #1 on December 24, and even ended up breaking the record for the most streams of one song in a single day; another record was broken by the 2018 YouTube Rewind, which became the most-disliked video on the platform beating out the music video to Justin Bieber’s 2009 hit “Baby”.