New Decade Generates Reflections of the 2010s

Students and faculty share differing thoughts and opinions on the end of the decade, from pop culture events to changes within the college. Provost Neil Weissman described some of the ways Dickinson College has changed in the last decade. “Certainly, over the last, well a little more than a decade, the demographics of the student body have changed dramatically. [There are] more students of color, more students from underrepresented groups, and more international students,” he said. He also noted that the college still has work in becoming fully inclusive.

Weissman explained that sustainability has emerged as an important part of the college.  “The notion that Dickinson would have an initiative on sustainability, that we would make it a defining characteristic of the college is not that old,” he said.

Weissman also said that “Pedagogies continue to evolve in ways that I think make for a better education than students got 10, 20, 30 years ago.” 

For students, the transition is more personal. Some thought about the trends from earlier in the decade. Peter Kohart ’21, said “It’s weird to think about how long ago some stuff was. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga [was] 12 years ago. It makes you think.”

Other students are excited for the more pleasing number. “2020 is just a prettier number than 2010,” said Hope Stollsteimer ’23, “there are more vowels though.” Kathryn Beck ’20 agreed, “Especially because I’m a math major, it’s very numerically appealing.”

Beck has more on the line than an appealing number though. 2020 “feels significant in my mind because I’m graduating,” she said. The class of 2020 have spent one-third of the decade at Dickinson. In just five months those students will graduate and leave the college that has been home for the last few years. 

A new decade can also be a new chapter. Jack Tigani ’22 said “It’s weird seeing the future approach so quickly.” Josephine Cook ’23 said that she is “excited for the roaring twenties.” The 2020’s will mark one century after the decade of the “Roaring Twenties,” when a booming economy contributed to an intense period of social change.

 Kira Ousey ’21 agreed with Cook and said, “I would love to just roar for a decade.” Ousey is not the only student joking about the new decade. When asked about the end of the 2010s Natalie Cist ’23 joked “Wait, the decade’s coming to an end?” 

While a few students spoke about the past, like Weissmann, students are much more preoccupied with the future. Weissman has seen more decades of Dickinson College than current students – he has been at the college since 1975. 

Students might be more comfortable ignoring the past. Ousey said “when you think about the trends from 2010 it makes you think ‘Oh God, wow, what a cringey childhood.’” 

For students, the change in decade marks a shift. Each of the current classes entered Dickinson College in one decade but will graduate in another. For the moment, though, students are not preoccupied with the change in decade. Jimmy Duthie ’23 might have best summarized the student body’s attitude. “I’m indifferent. We’re all going to die one way or another,” he said.