In a matter of days, this decade ends. The 2010s saw extensive change, whether it be social, technological or political. For example, at the beginning of the decade, Facebook had just opened its platform to all users, and Apple released the first iPhone three years before.

In this decade, liquid water was found on Mars. The first image of a black hole was captured. The March for Our Lives and the #MeToo movements swept the nation, and this decade saw a businessman and former reality television star become president.

However, it also seems surreal. As with most time-based things, it feels like this decade simultaneously dragged on for about 4 billion years and yet flew by in a matter of days. I still vividly remember how everyone — including myself as a second grader — believed the world would end on Dec. 21, 2012, the date of the Mayan “doomsday” prediction. Many of the moments that we have experienced in the past decade will probably be written about in history textbooks.

For many, the turn of the decade brings about uncertainty. For teens, the prospect of adulthood and college is daunting. I suspect many of my generation will meet the 2020s with an amalgamation of feelings. What new innovations will be made in the new decade? How are we going to approach the ever-present climate change problem? What new nonsense will our political leaders dream up to cause us angst?

But that’s also the part I am most excited about: change. The widespread use of Instagram is a testament to how quickly change can take place. Today, there are very few people who don’t have a smartphone or access to various social media outlets. It’ll be interesting to see the other ways in which technology is integrated into our daily lives. It is very likely that we will better be able to cure more diseases, and scientific innovation should naturally follow such breakthroughs.

Hopefully, we will find ways to combat pollution and climate change and approach other complex social issues. Across social media and the news, we have seen recurring examples of teenagers taking initiative and showing passion and courage to fix prevalent issues, ranging from Time magazine Person of the Year Greta Thunberg — a teenage climate change activist who has gained international attention — to the growing number of teens taking part in the Hong Kong protests.

We seem to have moved from pointing fingers about who causes these problems to advocating for change and doing our part. Support for these protests ranges across age groups, creating a unified effort for a better society. And while teenagers taking on prevalent issues certainly isn’t new, this is the first time I have been able to experience and partake in it.

Will there be setbacks and obstacles? Yes. I’ve read articles on how we only have about a decade to act on climate change before environmental conditions are further worsened. Can we fix that in 10 years? I don’t know. Faced with a problem like that, a decade suddenly seems like a short period of time.

We still have a long way to go regarding gun control, particularly in light of what seems to be continual reports of school shootings. And I wonder in the next 10 years if the world will fully adapt to the internet and a world of robots, perhaps leaving books and humans beings behind.

But I’ve seen a lot of initiatives, including by youth and teens, to create a better world in the past decade, and I want to believe that in the coming decade, that energy will carry through, ensuring the future is in good hands. In fact, I have to believe that.

Niveditha Bala is a junior at Mandela International Magnet School. Contact her at niveditha.bala@mandelainternationalschool.us.

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General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

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