Ten years ago, we humble college students were stumbling through the trying days of grade school life. For most, dwelling on one’s elementary school persona is liable to bring back cringe-worthy memories of the purely innocent stubbornness, obliviousness and downright stupidity that each and every person on earth undoubtedly has. With #2009v2019 trending on Twitter, timelines have been flooded with flip-phone selfies, chunky highlights and “trendy” outfits. We asked The Daily Nebraskan Culture staff to think back to the days when life was slightly simpler and reflect on their past.
How have you transformed from 2009 to 2019?
David Berman, culture reporter
Ah, 2009, how I miss you. My family was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the time, and I was in the fourth grade at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic School. I was much shorter, stockier and had no idea how to comb my hair, but there’s a certain simplicity of life back then that I miss now in my old age of 19. As this semester grows colder and crueler, I long for the days when I could spend my afternoons munching on an Uncrustable while playing my Nintendo DS without a care in the world.
Jenna Thompson, culture reporter
2009 was a much simpler time for me. I would spend my weekdays watching Little House on the Prairie and my weekends trying to emulate the latest Disney Channel style trends, which meant wearing whatever Hillary Duff or Selena Gomez was wearing. I had a particular proclivity for sparkly belts and baker hats. Much to my delight, the other day I saw an entire Target rack full of those absolutely obnoxious-looking, quirky hats that make a girl look and feel like she’s a highly fashionable railroad conductor. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if I think these caps actually look good or if I’m just nostalgic, but I bought one and plan to wear it now as much as I did in 2009. Thankfully for the rest of the world, I’ve grown out of my horse girl phase. I’ve never ridden a horse, I think I just needed a quirky thing to be obsessed with for awhile. In 2010, I decided that dogs were more my speed, and I have yet to leave that phase.
Hunter Arias, assistant culture editor
Boy, was 2009 a confusing year. As an energetic, bowl-cut-donning, fifth grader at the only school in Ceresco, Nebraska, I had little-to-no interest in girls and only wanted to spend my time banging on things or running around my parent’s acreage causing mischief. But, to little avail, the girls in my class seemed to be interested in me. At one point, I was asked by two different girls in my class to “be their boyfriend.” Of course I said yes, I mean, who wouldn’t? But didn’t take long before word got out that I was “cheating” on two people at the same time. How was I supposed to know how dating worked? Or maybe I just wanted to see what I could get away with. Needless to say, I try to cheat on people as little as I can these days. If I were still that wild card, heartbreaker 11-year-old and I could glimpse the man-child I would become in 2019, I’d probably create a warp in the space-time continuum and destroy the universe, so it’s probably best not to ponder the question.
Kyle Kruse, culture reporter
In 2009 I turned 11 years old, finished fourth grade and began fifth grade. I couldn’t have been a happier kid. I grew up in the small town of Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska, which had a population of only about 600 people. I spent that summer the same way I spent most summers, riding bikes around town with my friends, playing baseball and finding other random ways to entertain myself in a small town with nothing to do.
That summer also happened to be the summer that I got my first cell phone. It was a maroon LG EnV3, and at the time I thought it was the coolest phone in the world because it folded open sideways to reveal a sweet keyboard underneath. I also managed to break it less than a week after I got it. My friend and I had decided to tie a red wagon to the back of his bike and pull each other around in it. We were having a ton of fun until the wagon flipped over while I was in it, and I went spilling out onto the concrete of the street. I landed directly on new phone and the screen shattered.
I tell this story because I think it’s funny, though I certainly didn’t find it as funny as my parents did at the time. And because little 11-year-old me had no idea how much I would grow to rely on my cell phone as the years went on. Now, in 2019, I pretty much can’t function without it. I get the vast majority of my news through it, I use it as a planner to keep track of everything I have going on, I keep in contact with friends and I even use it to write articles for The DN occasionally. I’d like to say I could function without it, but I honestly don’t know if I could, which is a stark difference between me now and the younger me..
Anne Walter, culture reporter
So, 2009 wasn’t that phenomenal. Being homeschooled, the years — especially the junior high years — really meld together. I do know I was about nine years old at the time, and most likely obsessed with dogs, horses or any other animal. I was also really concrete. I didn’t ever get abstract or ironic jokes. Looking back, a few things have changed. Now, ironic jokes are some of my favorites, but my obsessions have remained. There has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t obsessed with something, whether it was dogs, “Star Wars”, MARVEL movies or Korean pop. But looking back at nine-year-old me, I was also a big book reader. Therefore, I didn’t make a lot of friends other than the ones who also read. I still read but I’m much more social than when I was nine.
Haley Elder, assistant culture editor
2009 was a rough year for me. I was stuck in a tomboy phase. I refused to take any guidance on how I should dress myself or do my hair. Everyday, due to my lack of fashion expertise, I zipped myself up in an oversized, light gray jacket and slicked my thick hair back into a ponytail. Under the gray jacket — in an attempt to be “cool” — I would sport my older sisters’ band t-shirts (also way too big for me) with a pair of converse. To say the least, it wasn’t cute. Thankfully, I have spent the last decade trying to grow out of that phase, as I have thoroughly avoided any type of zip-up jacket and every type of ponytail. However, I still like to rock the occasional band t-shirt and own a few too many pairs of converse. Old habits die hard.
Lisa van Donk, culture reporter
In 2009, I would've been 11 years old and in sixth grade. I would've just entered middle school and, honestly, I would've been pretty much the same as how I was in elementary school. That being said, 2019 me is not too different from 2009 either. I never wore jeans, didn't even own a pair until sometime in middle school, and I wore random T-shirts. I wore what was comfortable to me and I still dress that way now: whatever is comfortable. It's such a long time ago, I really can't remember much and it wasn't all that memorable. Not saying that in a negative way; it's just the truth. Now, if we would've been talking about 2010 me, there would've been a lot more to say because that was the year I discovered K-pop and became an embarrassingly diehard fan.