By ELLAH FOSTER
On March 12, most of us were blindsided by the school closure. Days later, our governor mandated the shelter-in-place. Now, many of our parents are jobless, grocery stores remain empty, and the news is a depressing, never-ending cycle. To add insult to injury, the pinnacle of our high school careers has been stolen from us.
So what now?
There’s a part of me that feels selfish mourning the loss of my senior year. But then I am reminded that these events being canceled are all one massive rite of passage into adulthood. These were our last moments to spend as a class and, more importantly, as kids.
We may never dance at prom. We might have already attended our last day of high school without a celebratory ditch day. We may never walk across the stage at graduation or get hauled to Universal Studios in a hot noisy bus full of seniors. In the next few weeks, many of us will be committing to colleges we never had a chance to visit. Yes, there are worse problems in the world right now than not getting to wear an expensive dress or ride rollercoasters, but that does not make our loss inconsequential because it is more than that.
These canceled events were our last breath of childhood, culminating in the ultimate transition to adulthood symbolized by walking across that stage.
This pandemic has forced us to put our own disappointment aside and grow up quickly. Each one of us is going through a uniquely challenging time in the face of the same crisis. Maybe your parents are struggling to pay the bills, you’re worrying about an infected loved one, or social distancing is having a toll on your mental health. But if there is one positive thing that can come out of this disaster, it is community. We are still the Class of 2020. The world has been flipped upside down and then shaken a few times, I know. We aren’t getting the traditional second semester of our senior year, but we also haven’t made our mark on the world yet.
Come Fall, we will be moving into our dorm rooms or showing up to our first day of work. Our lives will move on and the earth will keep turning. We will all do incredible things in and for this world–we’ve just got to wait for our time to shine.
Until then, stay home with your family and ride this wave out. The Class of 2020 will rise again.