This year has really been an adventure, and not the fun kind. Whoever started the game please finish it soon. I'm not sure how much more crazy the world can take. From wildfires and killer wasps to race relations and the current political climate, it feels as though we are taking a sharp incline into a hole we keep digging deeper for ourselves. The worst part of this whole year-as everybody knows-is the Coronavirus pandemic that has not left any place untouched. We've quarantined and worn masks, bought up all of the hand sanitizer and toilet paper in stock, and yet, it has not gone away. There always seem to be new cases popping up, mutations changing the transmissibility and sensitivity of the virus; its has affected the world physically, mentally, economically and socially.
As a 2020 high school graduate, I saw firsthand how the virus was affecting the kids of my year. We didn't get normal proms or senior trips. No last day of school pranks or senior skip (unless you count all the kids who didn't feel like doing virtual school). None of the things that play a part in making the grueling 12 years in school just a little bit worth it. We didn't even get to graduate normally. The thing is, most of us had a really great attitude about it. That's what Generation Z does; we take a messy situation and make it so much better with our dark, depressing humor and weird trends that make everyone else scoff and talk trash about us. It also makes you laugh so you're welcome.
There has been so much support for my class over the first half of the year. Banners everywhere, signs and billboards to show how much people are thinking of us. It's really great to see everyone come together (socially distanced of course) for a positive cause. Many people have reached out and told us how sorry they are, and it means a lot that people are thinking of us when there is so much else that needs tb be done. However, there are some people we have forgotten about.
Like I said, we missed prom and end of year events. Still, here is so much that we still got to experience. Sure, most of the fun stuff about being a senior happens at the end of the year (leaving the school for the last time EVER), but so much still got to happen. There were Homecomings and winter formals that we dressed up and took pictures for. All the parties we went to and made lasting memories at (we don't have to tell the adults). Field trips and events that we missed boring classes to attend; we got did get most of those things. For the music students, we got to have winter concerts, and while we all know that spring is superior, winter is alright. The group that is really getting cheated is are the 2021 graduating class.
Where's their homecoming? How do they get a senior trip and graduation? There is no meeting teachers and getting to know what you could possibly get away with. Now there is a constant fear that if they go somewhere they might get someone sick. They have to get through their last year-one of the most important years-over computer screens and/or wearing masks and wearing masks. The 2021 kids got their year taken away before it had a chance to begin.
2020 Seniors had hope that the year would play out normally and that wasn't dashed until March. 2021 got canceled before it started. You guys really got the short end of the stick. A lot of people don't think about it because we have been dealing with the pandemic for a few months now and we are all adapting. We've become accustomed to not being able to do things. But it's still hard when senior year is something we have all worked towards for so long.
To the 2021 class, you can do this. Get through it. Be smart, but have fun. Be brave but remember that it's okay to be sad or upset. Be safe, but have as much fun as you can. No matter what, it is your senior year. You have sat through countless hours of classes that made you hate school, woken up early after staying up late to finish the essay that could be the difference between an A and B. You've done it all, and now you're here. It's not the ideal situation, but you can make it.
Be the group that comes up with new ways to do things. Innovate and revolutionize; teach everyone new ways of doing things. All of you have the chance to make a path for everyone after. It won't be exactly the same, when is it ever? Do all the things that you deserve to do, even if it's not in a conventional way.
To everyone else; rally around this class like you did mine. Embarrass them with banners and billboard signs, send them your wishes and lift them up when they need it. Show them how special their class is; how pivotal their experiences are to shaping the future of schooling as well as so many other things.
Go be amazing, class of 2021! Go be amazing and make yourselves heard.