2020: Concluding year of writing through writing


Olivia Cooper

2020 has been an eventful year particularly because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused major life changes for everyone. The Sidekick executive news editor Shivi Sharma reflects on her experiences writing and being a journalist this year and looks forward to 2021.

Shivi Sharma, Executive News Editor

Blissfully quiet, early morning walks to school while sipping tea. Standing on a chair and updating the section whiteboard in the back of the newsroom. Conversations on sun-drenched afternoons that flow like you could talk to the other person forever. 

Some of those memories are folded into Coppell High School, in chaotic, glee-filled passing periods, in classrooms where I failed and succeeded, in times I sat in the halls on beanbags with friends, chatting about anything that came to mind. Those moments feel as though they took place millenia ago, even though I experienced them at the start of 2020.  

I refuse to recap these past months with a cliche “2020’s been quite the year, eh?” 

There is no doubt that it has been. The immense pain and loss suffered by people across the world from the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, explosions and the thousands of other events that flooded newsfeeds is something I can’t put into words. 

I am privileged beyond my own awareness to insulate myself from a majority of those occurrences. 

In 2020, I led a journalism program I adore more than I can express (but if you want to see me try, read this) and spent so much time on my laptop that it probably got sick of me sometimes. 

Ask me what The Sidekick means to me and I turn into a ranting, blubbery mess. I’m more than halfway through my time as executive news editor, after looking up to the position and the people who excelled in it since I joined this staff in my sophomore year. I began 2020 with 47 published stories on Coppell Student Media and am ending it with 88. 

More than anything this year, I was a journalist. I am lucky to have documented a jam-packed year – from racial protests, struggling businesses, school closures, testing cancellations, virtual learning, the death of an iconic Supreme Court Justice and local and national elections – through my stories. 

This year in particular, the act of writing – bringing personal essays, articles, research papers and therapeutic entries to life with just my mind and a keyboard – feels powerful. I am buoyed by the feeling of publishing stories; the feeling of drinking in morsels of carefully crafted poetry as I lay in bed at night; the feeling of Bollywood music ringing in my ears as I jog past trees changing color in my neighborhood. 

I am buoyed by the process of writing itself – at once exhausting and all consuming – the depths from which something worth salvaging and calling my own emerges. 

On Dec. 31 of last year, I made a laundry list of big and small goals across different areas of my life – school, Sidekick, taekwondo, college. Recently, I looked back on the document, rolling my eyes at the “don’t look at my phone as soon as I get up in the morning” and the “wake up earlier please” and shaking my head at the “make senior overalls!” and “go to the National Scholastic Press Association spring convention in Nashville!” 

This year, instead of hoping I will force myself to have better habits and certain experiences by writing down goals and forgetting about them, I plan to reflect and recognize the ways I have grown.  

Although I’ve greenlighted using the word adapting in one too many headlines and ledes this year, we truly are. All of us. We’re constantly evolving every day. No matter what happens and what we do – time – and of course, life – rattle on, and that is a notion both terrifying and beautiful. 

I’m not going to conclude this by suggesting we focus on the positive; while focusing on new milestones and opportunities is valuable, it’s not always so simple. But, I hope this year made you understand yourself better: who you are and who you want to be. I hope you were kind to yourself in small and big ways. 

Here’s to the mood swings, ranting, overthinking and million Zoom calls of 2020. And here’s to 2021- a year we begin cautiously, carrying with us the messiness, heartbreaks and laughing-as-you’re-crying mood of 2020. 

New year, same us – but at least we’re facing it together. 

Follow Shivi (@_shivisharma_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.