One year ago on Wednesday, officials announced that classes would be held online for two weeks after spring break.
Then, administrators said classes would be held remotely for the rest of the spring semester. Two major announcements followed in the next year: The fall and spring semesters would also be held online.
Since then, students spread out across the globe have picked up new ways to trudge through the pandemic, be it by endless scrolling on TikTok or picking up new baking recipes. From the debut of “Tiger King” to a virtual Coachella concert, take a look down memory lane at all of the ways we’ve found some good news in a lot of dark days.
To fill open schedules, avoid grocery store runs and try some new recipes, many turned to baking in the early months of quarantine. Sourdough starters left local grocery stores perpetually out of yeast last spring. Focaccia bread was elevated with intricate floral designs made of tomatoes and herbs. Pasta recipes like penne alla vodka and feta pasta went viral on TikTok, and mug cakes and banana bread became some of the most searched recipes.
The rise of TikTok
On top of infiltrating food trends, TikTok exploded as one of the most popular social media platforms for college-aged students. When TikTok user Nathan Apodaca went viral for his video skateboarding while drinking Ocean Spray and singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” the video received more than 41 million views and was replicated by everyone, including Mick Fleetwood himself. His video also prompted “Dreams” to reenter the Billboard Hot 100 after 43 years and No. 1 on Apple Music. Apodaca’s video impacted his own life – Ocean Spray, the brand of cranberry juice he had been drinking, purchased him a truck to replace the one that had broken prior to filming his viral video.
As world tours, festivals and concerts were postponed, artists found a new venue in social media. Diplo hosted his “Corona World Tour,” with multi-weekly streams of his sets on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. In March, the Dropkick Murphys hosted “Streaming Up From Boston” on St. Patrick’s Day in place of its usual live show. In April, Post Malone streamed an hourlong Nirvana tribute from his home where he sang Nirvana songs with Blink-182’s Travis Barker on drums. In October, YouTube hosted a virtual festival in support of “Save Our Stages,” a fundraiser that worked to pass the legislation that would allocate $15 billion to independent music venues and employees struggling through the pandemic. The lineup featured more than 35 artists including G-Eazy, the Foo Fighters and the Black Pumas.
We’ve all had our fair share of time in front of our screens this quarantine, and a lot of that time has been dedicated to binge-watching movies and TV shows. The number of Netflix subscribers soared since last spring, and viewers blew up Netflix Original series like “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” “Outer Banks” and “The Crown.” Hulu subscribers binged “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Euphoria” while Disney+ subscribers geeked out over “The Mandalorian” original series.
When in-person graduations were ruled out last year, most colleges and universities moved their festivities online. High schools across the country held online ceremonies, socially distanced outdoor events and car parades where graduates received their diplomas through rolled-down windows. GW graduates also had graduation festivities at home to celebrate.
In an effort to prop up the graduates, celebrities and other influential figures worked together to produce televised graduation specials like “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” created by LeBron James. The videos featured public figures like former President Barack Obama, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who delivered uplifting words of wisdom and advice to graduates.
‘Some Good News’
It has been difficult to find good news over the past year, but actor John Krasinski found a way to offer people a bright spot. In March, he launched the news network “Some Good News,” where he streamed entertaining home videos sent in by viewers, shared stories of triumph and hosted famous guests for a healthy dose of comic relief.
As much as baking dominated the start of quarantine, other creative trends continued to circulate social media and kept professional and first-time artists occupied. Knitting became a particularly popular trend after singer Harry Styles’ JW Anderson cardigan went viral. TikTok users began posting their renditions of the cardigan, and the trend’s hashtag garnered more than 41 million views. Jonathan Anderson, the original designer of Styles’ cardigan, responded to the trend by posting the patterns for public use as well as a detailed tutorial on how he made the garment. Following its internet fame, Styles’ original cardigan was donated to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Following his December debut as the first man on the cover of Vogue, and in a dress no less, Styles contributed to the social movement of blurring gender lines in fashion.
The fashion world, like many other industries, needed to drum up innovative ways to carry out long-standing traditions, which in their case meant Fashion week. Paris Fashion Week, which took place in January of this year, was forced to online because of continuing pandemic concerns in Europe. The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the French fashion industry’s governing body, instructed fashion houses that runways could be held with models, provided they were closed to the public. Many fashion houses broadcasted their shows, while others took advantage of the digital format to try something new. The label Hanifa created a digitized runway in which the garments were shown in 3D and appeared to be walking the catwalk on their own.
While the pandemic forced the postponement of most major sporting events, by the end of the year, many leagues had prevailed after a season of enacting COVID-19 safety precautions. In February, 25,000 fans joined 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans for Super Bowl LV between Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
The NBA successfully created a bubble for its players and staff as they completed the 2019 season and throughout the 2020 season. The participants isolated themselves at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida beginning July 6 in anticipation of the season’s July 30th start. Rules for those quarantined were kept extremely strict with an enforced no-guest policy, monitored schedules and even disposing of card decks following their use in card games. In conjunction with the live games, the NBA created a virtual audience experience in collaboration with Microsoft that allowed fans to be projected inside the arenas and even cut to by the cameras on the broadcast.