2016: The Year of the Meme

2016: The Year of the Meme

The best and worst moments of the hottest year on record.
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I think we can all agree that 2016 was a shitty year- so much so, that John Oliver, host of "Last Week Tonight" dedicated the season finale episode to just how terrible it was. Despite popular belief, it wasn't all bad, and we have the memes to prove it.Here are all the best and worst things that happened this year.

January 10 - Musician David Bowie died of cancer at age 69.

January 14 - Actor Alan Rickman died of pancreatic cancer at age 69.

February 19 - Harper Lee, author of American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, died at 89.

February 28 - Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for his leading role in The Revenant. And he used his acceptance speech time to talk about climate change. Bravo, Leo!

March 26 - 32 people were killed in terrorist bombings in airports and metro stations in Brussels, Belgium.

April 21 - Music icon Prince died of an overdose at age 57.

May 28 - The infamous gorilla, Harambe, was shot at the Cincinatti Zoo when a child fell into the gorilla enclosure, leading to widespread controversy and, of course, memes.

June 3 - Boxer Muhammad Ali died of Parkinson's disease at age 74.

June 10 - The Voice singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed during a meet-and-greet following a live performance in Orlando. Her brother tackled her killer, preventing further gunshots

June 12 - The worst mass shooting in American history occurred at a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. 49 people were killed and 53 were injured.

June 14 - A two-year-old boy was killed by an alligator in Disney.

June 19 - Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in Star Trek, died tragically at age 27 when he was pinned between his vehicle and the gate to his home, after driving friends to their homes.

July 6 - Philando Castile, a black man, was shot dead by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken tailight, and was live-streamed via Facebook by his fiance and passenger, Diamond Reynolds. Their four-year-old daughter was in the backseat.

July 7 - A march against police brutality was held in Dallas, during which five police officers were killed by a sniper.

July 14 - A terrorist ran people over with a truck during the Bastille Day festival in Nice, France. 85 people were killed.

August 9 - American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps breaks the 2,186-year-old record for most individual gold medals, set by Leonidas of Rhodes in 152 BC. Phelps completed the Rio 2016 Olympic games with 23 gold medals, and 28 medals overall.

Rio 2016 was probably the best part of America's summer this year. With all the tragedies happening at home and around the world, focusing on the Olympics and celebrating American wins, including our amazing Final Five gymnast team, was a relief to most. The memes that came out of the Olympic games were comic relief, too.

August 13 - Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in Star Wars, died at 81- despite the fact that he was not expected to live past his teenage years due to his physical condition; he was 3 feet, 8 inches tall.

August 29 - Gene Wilder, AKA Willy Wonka, and the subject of the famous meme, died at age 83.

September 1 - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was widely criticized for kneeling during the national anthem.

November 2 - Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was in the year 1908.

November 9 - After Donald Trump is elected president of the United States, protests break out across the country and #NotMyPresident begins trending.

December 4 - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady becomes the "winningest" quarterback of all time with 201 wins in 248 games, beating the previous record set by Peyton Manning: 200 wins in 293 games.

December 4 - After months of protest, #NoDAPL wins; the permit to drill the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock reservation is denied.

December 13 - Actor Alan Thicke, father of Robin Thicke, died of heart failure at age 69.

December 25 - Musician George Michael died of heart failure while home alone on Christmas morning. He was 53.

December 27 - Carrie Fisher, AKA Princess Leia, died of a heart attack at age 60.


As 2016 (finally) draws to a close, let's look back at how far we've come. So many deaths, both of celebrities, and of civilians randomly attacked by violence and terrorism, occurred this year. But I truly believe we're in a better place as this year comes to a close than we were in the midst of all its craziness. In the words of John Oliver...

Good riddens.

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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Thinking About Your Future Is Hard

College is where you really have to start planning your future.

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Since I'm still an undergrad, I have some time to plan my life after college - that is my life once I graduate and get my Bachelor's.

When I first came to college, I didn't expect much out of what I'd do once I received my Bachelor's in Animal Science. I just assumed that I was going to go straight into vet school, become a veterinarian, and open my own practice.

Nope. Not today.

I, of course, switched my major to English so I could concentrate my skills in creative writing. I didn't know what I could do as a creative writer and everyone assumed I wanted to be a teacher. During my panic, I took several career assessments and found some similar career paths that appealed to me and now I have a plan. I'm not saying it's full proof but it's a plan nonetheless.

It's nerve-wracking trying to make sure you're on the correct path. So I'm planning to go to grad school and get a masters and then a Ph.D. It's just the process of applying and funding grad school makes me want to curl into a ball, in a corner, on my bed, and under the covers. My mind freezes whenever I have to think about the fact that I, Jacqulea Anderson, will be going to grad school once I graduate. Me. ME! It's mind-blowing because I have a clue as to what I want to pursue relating to my Master's but not for my Doctorate's. Creative writing has a master's program, but to get my Ph.D., I would have to just get it in English if I want to stay that route. Which adds to the stress of planning my life after college.

Everything changes: your mind, tastes, and wants change. They develop the older you get and once you realize you don't want to pursue your dream major, then it's back to the drawing board. While you can change your degree in grad school, it's also a good idea to have a slight clue as to what program you want to apply for.

Along the way, you figure out the adult part of life. Such as taxes, insurance, rent/mortgage, random bills, credit scores, and everything else under the sun because who actually taught us what we needed to know about adult living? You have to figure out where you want to live and if it's convenient enough distance wise from your job or school. There's just so much to factor in once you leave undergrad and you have a support system (hopefully) that will help guide you, but in the end, it's still you. You have to be the one to make the decisions on what you want to do with your life based on the choices you were given. If you can make your own choice then more power to you.

Life is hard. College is hard. Learning to be a functioning adult that has 85% of their life together is a dream I'm just trying to make come true.

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