The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Staff Recommends: 2024 ins and outs — editor’s edition

Molly Parker
Molly’s illustration for the Cynic staff ins and outs for 2024. Four green colors balloons reading “2024” being held by four different hands.

Staff Recommends: 2024 ins and outs — editor’s edition

The Cynic editors have their fingers on the pulse of the trends, or at least we like to think we do. Here is our list of what should be incorporated and what should be thrown out in the new year. 

Grace Wang, Culture Editor

In: Girl Fruits  

Never in my life have I preferred an apple to a nice, cold orange. 

Nor have I ever preferred a banana to a pomegranate. And most recently, I have been enamored with persimmons much more than pears have crossed my mind. 

I attribute these decisions to the distinction I have decided exists between “girl” fruits and “boy” fruits. 

This is of course not to say that these fruits must strictly be kept within the societal binary walls. However, some fruits just don’t seem meant to be in the hands of men. 

With my rules of fruit delineation set, I believe that no one should be eating “boy” fruits anymore. Unless absolutely necessary for sustenance, you should enjoy the experience of a sweet, refreshing treat. “Girl” fruits are in. 

Out: T-shirts

Nothing is less flattering than a T-shirt. Whether it’s the one you got for completing the annual turkey trot with your family, or a vintage—perfectly washed—single-stitch piece, I feel the need to let you know that it should be retired. 

The cut of a basic t-shirt, the awkward length of the sleeves, the loose yet somehow always clingy fabric—it consistently fails to compliment even the most simple of outfits. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m here for a baby tee or even a three-quarter sleeve done right, but a t-shirt is simply out. 

Instead, consider layering; a tank top and a cardigan will never fail you. You may think the same effect could be had with a t-shirt, but do you really want your sleeves bunching up on your shoulders every time you move? My point has been made. 

Annalisa Madonia, Co-Photo Editor

In: Ordering hot cocoa 

As someone who is a vocal non-coffee drinker, I have heard the phrase, “Trust me, once you start college you will get addicted to it,” way too many times. However, as a second-semester sophomore, I still have not gotten the hype about coffee.

Instead, I propose that us non-coffee drinkers stop being ashamed about ordering hot chocolate or tea at our favorite cafes. 

Sometimes, I just want a warm little sweet beverage before class and not a cup of bitter coffee with mass amounts of almond milk and sweetener. 

We, hot cocoa drinkers, should proudly order what our hearts truly desire and ditch the need to order a coffee just because it’s what’s expected.

Out: TikTok Shop

Like many people, I am a frequent user of TikTok—sometimes too frequent. 

One thing I have noticed lately is the influx of advertisements brought on by the addition of TikTok Shop. It feels as though every other video is some micro-influencer trying to sell me the latest shapewear or lip product that they claim will be life-changing.

I, for one, am sick of this. I miss the days when my For You Page was filled with weird little videos of animals or clips from my favorite TV shows. Now my feed resembles the QVC channel my mom would obsessively watch during the holidays to figure out what to get us for Christmas. 

This year, we should move away from trusting TikTok shop influencers so easily and go back to the days when people were posting for fun.

Maxine Thornton, Managing Editor

In: Niche hobbies

Hobbies aren’t hobbying anymore. Everyone and their mother crochets nowadays—it’s time to get more creative. 

This semester, I’ve taken up painting themed decks of cards. I play a lot of cards with my friends and family, and I feel like I’ll get a kick out of my dad holding a mermaid-themed ace of spades. I love it when a hobby is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Hobbies, however, also come with the pressure of a finished product. Although I’ve never taken it up myself, my friends who knit always express their frustration at the unfinished projects sitting around their room.

Niche hobbies that can be picked up and put down easily need to make a comeback.

Out: Acrylic nails

While I’ve personally never had them, I feel like the classy one-toned short nail is all I’ve been seeing these days. 

The designs of acrylics past need not be lost, a gel or dip style still lends itself to creativity on the end of your finger. Acrylics, however, scream 2016. The loud click-clack on your keyboard, while once a fun distraction, is now annoying.

If you love acrylics still by all means keep getting them, someone needs to keep the nail salons afloat with outrageous acrylic prices. For the understated and chic of us, however, we’ll be moving in gel-clad silence.

Sophia Balunek, Editor-in-Chief

In: Organizing your desktop files

If you don’t know how to do it, here’s how, but I shouldn’t have to tell you this.

Start with making folders and then move relevant files into them. They can be organized by date, topic, class, color, shape, texture, etc. Make sure to name files descriptively, but make sure they’re not too long.

Delete unused folders. Anything older than five years, trash it.

The documents folder exists, not everything has to be on the desktop.

There you have it, now get busy.

Out: Being annoyed 

The emotion of annoyance is completely self-created. 

You don’t have to feel it if you don’t want to. Choose to not be annoyed with something, and voila, you won’t be annoyed. 

Just mind your own business. 

Ayelet Kaminski, Opinion Editor

In: Critical thought

The era of “let people enjoy things” is over. 

In 2024, we are critically analyzing media, and you know what, we’re not going to be afraid to call bad art bad. And yes, art can be bad. Listen to whatever shitty music or binge-watch whatever Netflix original your heart desires, but don’t try to convince me it’s the word of God. 

Now, this isn’t to promote being a hater or contrarian—which is very much out—but instead to encourage honest discourse and free thought amongst our generation. And no, getting your opinions from your TikTok For You Page does not count. 

Expand your palette. Try reading a book outside the YA section. Watch a movie that isn’t part of a franchise. Delete TikTok. Go to an art museum—without making it a photoshoot. 

Sometimes things are popular because they’re good. But sometimes they’re not. And this year, we’re calling it like it is. 

Out: Skinny Pancake

I’ll say it. I’m tired of Skinny Pancake. 

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Skinny P isn’t really that good, the food options on campus are just that bad. While they do serve some of the best hot food on campus, their menu leaves much to be desired. 

Their most egregious item is the poutine. To even call it poutine is a misnomer, it is just straight up not poutine by any definition of the dish. Their breakfast sammies aren’t so bad, but nine times out of ten, I’d rather spend my time and money at Toast. 

And don’t get me started on their crepes. Honestly, “skinny pancake” is a more apt descriptor of what they sell. Every time I read the ingredients of their savory crepes, I can’t help but think how much better they would be in a panini. 

Now, of course, beggars can’t be choosers—Skinny P does have a monopoly on the late-night munchies market—but let’s not fool ourselves about the quality.

Charlotte Burns, Podcast Co-Editor

In: Bill Bryson’s writing 

Growing up with outdoorsy parents, Bill Bryson’s books were always in my house. 

If you aren’t familiar, Bryson is a travel writer and humorist. He tells stories of hiking, backpacking and more through vivid descriptions and hilarious commentary. 

In addition to travel writing, Bryson has written several historical novels that are a delight to read. 

Whether you’re a massive nature and history nerd like me, or you’re just looking for a new author, Bill Bryson is a great addition to your bookshelf in 2024.

Out: Doom-scrolling 

I’ve spent too many nights up far too late, with my phone six inches from my face, flipping through TikTok or Instagram. Usually, I’m in the dark as well, with no other stimulation except for whatever the algorithm has decided to push to me today. 

The content is frequently overdramatic, angering, outright ridiculous or some combination of the three. It ruins my peaceful mood and when I eventually set my phone down, I’m too upset about the world to even fall asleep. 

I need to try putting my phone down earlier so that I don’t endlessly spiral in 2024. 

Liliana Mefford, Features Editor

In: The Midwest

When people from UVM ask me where I’m from, I feel like I owe them a disclaimer. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin.

In my time at UVM, I’ve grown far too used to the “what’s even over there?” and the “you mean like…cheese?” And yes, I’ll give it to you—Wisconsin has a LOT of cornfields and a lot of amazing cheese. 

However, there is so much more to Wisconsin and the Midwest than people, especially from the East, understand. The Midwest offers beautiful lakes, scenic landscapes and extraordinarily kind people. 2024 is the year to appreciate the Midwest for its understated charm.

Out: Over-thrifting

While thrifting has rightfully grown in popularity as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, “over-thrifting” is a harmful trend that undermines its sustainability. 

Many may fall victim to the trap of over-thrifting since second-hand items are often very cheap, but massive weekly thrift hauls of clothing never worn are still wasteful. 

2024 is the year of quality over quantity in order to embrace true sustainability.

Emily Kobus, Co-Photo Editor

In: Handwritten notes

Deny it all you want, but absolutely nothing beats the feeling of pen, pencil and highlighter on a clean sheet of paper.

Your high school teacher’s obsession with a computer-less classroom and Cornell notes was not unwarranted. Study after study shows us that handwritten notes help with retention and memory, and it’s time we start listening. All your laptop is offering during class is an infinite amount of other tabs to distract yourself and those around you from the lecture.

Regardless of any distraction or retention-based benefits, handwritten notes simply allow for subtle self-expression that is and has always been “in.” Get out your favorite glitter pen and start writing.

Out: Performative nonchalance 

Casual detachment from caring has gotten old.

As someone who spent a significant amount of 2023 striving for mystery and indifference, I can confirm that it got me absolutely nowhere. Stripping back my personality and passions hoping to squeeze into the practically unattainable “cool girl” trope left me with nothing but a lack of identity. 

Sacrificing your genuine self for the sake of image and aesthetics is unproductive and so out.

While it is certainly convenient to fall into off-handedness, there is a deep beauty in caring and showing it. Speak your mind and tell people you love them—the right people will appreciate it.



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About the Contributor
Molly Parker
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.