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

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

New year. New culture section. 

We’re giving it to you straight. Here is what’s going to be in and what’s going to be out in 2024. 


Playfulness – Clare Yesilonis

Whether you’re stressed about the spring semester or feeling like 2024 is finally your year, we could all use a little whimsical spirit. 

Get out and walk through the snow before classes, or frolic with your friends on the way to dinner. Doodle in the margins of your notebooks, dance a little if it makes you happy or toss around a crumpled sheet of paper during a study break. 

I know for me and my friends, we’ve been avid fans of floor time this school year and often end our nights together by lying on the ground.

Not only is it fun, but being playful has been found to positively impact mental health in teenagers, according to an Oct. 22, 2014 National Library of Medicine article. To me, the idea of play is all about the good feelings and a break in the mundane.

Sometimes these things feel stupid or awkward, but we need to get rid of those ideas. Go have fun. Feel silly and do it anyway. Unlock your inner childhood joy and let yourself enjoy some shenanigans.

Bird Bikes – Tatum Johnson

Although these might not be the cheapest mode of transportation, Bird Bikes are much better for the environment than driving. Additionally, they are often a much faster way to travel in a traffic-heavy place like Burlington. 

For commuter students, it can take upwards of 30 minutes to get to class when factoring in driving, finding parking and walking across campus from Gutterson Garage. Don’t be caught running up Pearl Street—that’s embarrassing. Instead, use a Bird Bike and get to class without breaking a sweat. 

However, biking on sidewalks—especially busy ones like those on campus—is out. Take advantage of the bike lanes on low-traffic roads in the Old North End to get to class. 

Funny Cat/Dog Videos – Tatum Johnson

TikTok and Instagram Reels can be an exhausting cycle of content that adds nothing positive to your day. Funny pet videos are here to save the day in 2024. 

Our feeds are filled with traumatic news events and repetitive influencers’ “get ready with me” videos, but funny pet moments never get old. Watching cats wreak havoc on their owners’ homes or dogs getting upset at trying sparkling water for the first time never fails to make me smile. 

Many students are missing their family pets, and although it’s not the same as cuddling with your childhood dog, watching cute animals is the next best thing to put yourself in a better mood after a long day. 

Shopping Local – Maggie O’Shea

Truth be told, shopping local has always been in. However, supporting our local economy is much more beneficial than funding big corporations. Shopping locally supports people directly. 

It’s worth it to spend a little more to purchase handmade, local pieces that will last you longer, and food that tastes better. Additionally, shopping locally diverts consumers from overconsumption and cheaply made items that often comes with supporting big business.

Mismatched Socks – Maggie O’Shea

Wearing two different socks every day is not just for children anymore. After noticing the Solmate Socks, a brand of socks that are made intentionally mismatched, I was inspired to bring this back.  

This should be expanded to everyday life, however. Wearing two different socks can spice up an outfit and you can save that lonely sock that had its partner lost in the wash. 

Guilty Pleasures -Maggie O’Shea

To quote Phoebe Bridgers, “Don’t be afraid of liking stuff, it’s okay […] I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures […] keep consuming music, your friends will pretend to like it if you like it.” 2024 is the year of embracing the things you truly love.

If you like something—a show, an artist, an album, a piece of literature—don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s important to learn about what our friends truly care about, that’s how we can show them that we care about them.

Handwritten Letters – Carolyn Kelly

While it is undoubtedly much easier to express your appreciation for someone by sending a text or email, the message is more meaningful if you make the effort to reach for pen, paper and an envelope.

Even the messiest of longhand, if it’s coming from someone we care about, is endearing and sentimental. So go ahead and send your friend, family member or future self a word of kindness the old-fashioned way the next time an opportunity arises. 

Board Games – Sophie Williams

Most of us can remember these childhood moments: playing Candy Land with our friends or a classic game of Monopoly with our overly competitive family, sometimes ending with someone in tears. 

With the ever-growing industry of video games and even that obscure puzzle game you downloaded from an ad, board games seem to have fallen off the list of everyday pastimes.

In 2024, instead of spending more time looking at your phone and occasionally sharing a funny TikTok with a friend, dust off your favorite childhood board game and enjoy time away from social media. 

Whether it’s Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders or Scrabble, board games encourage friendly competition and quality time with those around you. Who knows, maybe even completing a puzzle or two could spark a new hobby. 

Ski ballet – Keagan Lafferty

Vintage trends have made various comebacks over the past few years in fashion, music and lifestyles. But one thing the world seems to have forgotten is ski ballet. 

Ski ballet was popular in the 1970s and ‘80s as a competitive Olympic sport, and is exactly how it sounds: ballet on skis. Similar to figure skating, skiers perform choreographed dances and tricks to music. 

However, it went out of style as we approached the 21st century, and most of society has forgotten that it ever existed.

Extreme skiing is cool, crazy complex tricks off massive jumps are cool, but ski ballet can’t be forgotten. It’s 2024, it’s about time that we bring back graceful twirls and flips as a lovely classical string piece is played, possibly even by a live symphony.

Next year, of course, we can venture into ski hip-hop, ski swing, ski contemporary or ski tap dancing. But until then, ski ballet desperately needs to make a comeback.

AM and FM Radio – Keagan Lafferty

Over winter break, I left my car on campus and was left to borrow my parents’ cars whenever possible. However, I was faced with a severe issue that I initially found impossible to combat. Their cars don’t have Bluetooth. 

How was I supposed to drive without my music at full blast? Would I really need to resort to the radio? Who even listens to the radio in 2024?

Little did I know that this experience would give me a renewed sense of self and develop my character growth in valuable ways that I never would have expected. I turned the dial to 88.3 FM, the local radio station in my town. 

I was skeptical at first, listening to the community radio along with probably ten other people at most. But after a few measures of groovy jazz-jam-funk fusion, I instantly found myself opening Shazam to discover the name of my newfound favorite song.

My playlist was extended by over 100 songs over break, all of which I found on AM and FM radio. Discovering new music is by far my favorite activity—listening to the same songs gets boring and repetitive. If you agree, turn on the radio. Scroll through the stations, and believe me when I say that you will find a new favorite song.


Overhead Lighting – Maggie O’Shea 

A room is much more welcoming when filled with lamps, string lights, candles and dim lighting. Nobody likes walking into a room and being shocked by the intense fluorescent lighting. 

In 2024, we will make our spaces more inviting so that we can have a relaxed mindset and focus on the task at hand, instead of being distracted by the jarring lighting. 

Minimalism – Clare Yesilonis

When I see a picture of minimalistic style, something feels fundamentally wrong. My eyes see lots of white or gray tones or beige, and there’s nothing more to it. It’s simple. 

There’s certainly something to be said about a clean-looking outfit or sleek furniture in a household, especially if that fits your lifestyle. But every person has a personality, and there are so many fun ways to show off your style.

The concept of minimalism is to live minimally, with a simple life of less clutter and clothes. What I do not understand is how this translates to stark white rooms and zero decor. Or a monotone beige outfit. It just feels bland. 

Minimalism is out for 2024, so add some color to your world, even if that means a more neutral version of green, red or blue. Buy a few decorative items that represent you, and show them off to the world. Simplicity does not mean being boring, people can still be minimal without having homes that hold nothing but furniture.

Dating apps – Carolyn Kelly 

There is a time and place when dating apps can be golden, but a bustling college campus isn’t always that time or place. While the apps can remain in our toolboxes for seeking human connection, their novelty has come and gone.

2024 is the year to come out from behind our screens and meet people face to face. Take advantage of the endless events held on campus and around town that are set up to arrange just that. 

Practice vulnerability and make eye contact with a cutie, compliment your class crush, try something new. See what happens when you put yourself out there. 

Having an AirPod in at all times – Grace Wang

Being rude has always been out, but it seems as though little acts of nonchalance are creeping into our everyday ventures, and it has to stop. Previously, I was a firm believer in a day spent with one earbud in from dawn to dusk. I could even be found in lectures with noise-cancellation on, just writing notes from the slides. 

However, after my period of tuning out, I have concluded that this practice is detrimental to one’s well-being. 

Not in the way that you will suddenly fall ill because your Spotify minutes are approaching a dangerous level, but in the way that you are tuning the world out. It is a well-established social rule to not speak to people with headphones on, so if you refuse to ever take them off, the world tunes you out in response. 

So please, dear God, be present—the barista deserves at least 30 seconds of your attention. 

Not Wearing Sunscreen – Sophie Williams

It seems so easy to wake up on a hot, sunny day in July and head straight for the beach, but there is a critical step that is often overlooked. 

As a child, there was nothing worse than being forced by a parent to wear sunscreen, or even worse, colored zinc on your face. It seemed like a huge deal then, but now many won’t give SPF a second thought. 

Even those who rigorously apply sunscreen in the warmer months may skip this skincare step once the sun’s appearance becomes a rarity. Although, even in those dreary February days, skin still needs its protection. 

So in 2024, add this simple step to an everyday skincare routine, however elaborate or simple it may be, and help preserve your skin. 



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About the Contributors
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.