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What is the 2020 Effect?

What is the 2020 Effect?
Perrone, Sara

Four years ago, the year was 2020! Isn’t this shocking to think about? Doesn’t it feel like 2020 was just yesterday, and four years ago was more like 2016? Many who lived through the COVID 19 pandemic are experiencing this phenomenon that is commonly referred to as the “2020 effect.”

During 2020, everyone was simultaneously isolated at home for a period of time where all people did was sit at home, spending the whole day online. Since there was such a big disturbance in the daily routine (e.g. no in-person school, work, social events, etc.), the days were extremely repetitive for this whole time, causing that entire period to feel like a “blur,” affecting our perception of time.

Our mind subconsciously groups different time periods based on events. Significant events (birthdays, holidays, etc.) serve as “dividers” in our memories, helping us organize and structure our memories into distinct time periods. Due to days blending together during the pandemic, there were not many distinct and memorable events. Missing out on so many events forced us to not have these dividers in our memories. This period of time also felt extremely quick to many because there was nothing going on, causing the months to fly by without even realizing.

After continuing back into a somewhat “normal” lifestyle after this life-altering quarantine, we now have begun to make our usual memories again, and things feel relatively similar to how they were before COVID. However, this has caused us to block out memories from during COVID, as if they never occurred. Our memories from before COVID now appear nearer in time, rather than farther, due to the perception that 2020 seemed to pass at a quicker pace. We have found ourselves “stuck” at this quicker pace since. This is essentially what caused the phenomenon of the “2020 effect”. 

Reflecting on this period, it’s clear that the life-altering COVID-19 pandemic has truly warped our perception of time. The disruptions caused by the pandemic have left an enduring mark on everyone who lived through it.

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Eileen Harvey, Student Writer
Introducing Eileen. She is a freshman and this is her first year writing for The Gull. She enjoys volleyball, fashion, and loves Taylor Swift. She hopes to have a great first year of writing for The Gull, and hopes to do it for the rest of high school too!

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