I took the time to interview Mia, a Freshman joining Hunter's family in the fall. I was excited to interview with Mia because it gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better. I'm excited for Mia to join Hunter's community at The Odyssey and I know she's going to make a great addition to our team.
1. Where did you/are you graduating from?
I graduated from Herricks High School in New Hyde Park, NY.
2. What has it been like spending your last semester under quarantine amidst the coronavirus pandemic?
It's been overwhelming. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to this but being alone with your thoughts is difficult, especially for me because I overthink. So I've had some really good weeks where I'm hopeful and motivated and bad weeks where every day just seems more miserable than the last. I thought I had an easy time accepting the loss of the traditions my high school had for seniors and things like a traditional prom and graduation, but I realized I was just pushing those feelings down and avoiding them. Luckily, my friends and I have been trying to make the best of it, as well as my high school who is trying to celebrate us in different ways given the circumstances.
3. Of all the things you missed out on because of quarantine, what has been the hardest to accept?
The hardest thing I've had to accept missing out on is properly saying goodbye to my teachers and friends at school. I never thought I would cry at the end of the school year, but I was so mistaken. I've been really emotional over the fact that I probably won't see many of the amazing people I got to meet, make friends with, and learn from throughout the years again for a very long time (if ever).
4. What has been a silver lining?
The silver lining for me has been knowing that I'm going to Hunter in the fall, which I'm really looking forward to. I've always been excited about the idea of college and now that it's here I can't wait to experience new things. I'm sad to be leaving my home at Herricks behind but I think I'm going to find my place at Hunter as well. So it's comforting to know that I have so much to look forward to.
5. What have you done to make up for some of the graduation traditions you aren't able to do?
My high school recently did a clap out for all of the seniors. We drove in a circle around our school's campus (which had a circular driveway so it was easy to do) and the teachers and staff held signs while cheering for us and saying goodbye. That was super emotional for me and made me realize how much of a hard time I was having accepting not properly saying goodbye to everyone. I'm also going to decorate my cap to keep me excited and I'm looking forward to the drive-in movie graduation my school planned for us. I'm also hoping to get together with my friends and celebrate (while practicing social distancing of course).
6. What are your next steps, and have they been impacted by coronavirus?
Macaulay Honors College at Hunter is where my next step will be! I hope it won't be impacted by COVID-19 but it likely will be, as it's very likely classes will be online.
7. What is the worst thing someone can say to a Class of 2020 graduate?
I think the worst thing someone could say is to "just get over it." Most of us understand that this country is in the midst of two pandemics—one being racial. I see the lives of the sick and the oppressed as a priority for help and attention, but we're also losing something here. Nothing close to as important as our lives, but traditions and events we were looking forward to experience. So while there are more important things happening right now than prom being canceled, it's definitely upsetting and I know getting told that my feelings aren't important or valid isn't entirely fair. We worked hard for this, we deserve celebration.
8. What is one piece of advice you would love to give to the class of 2021?
My piece of advice would be to cherish every moment of high school and make the best of it. Seems cliché and very predictable given my own circumstances but it's the best I can think of. My own sister was interviewing me the other day as a senior of our high school and her questions took me down memory lane. I smiled and laughed thinking of the teachers who made a difference in my first two years of school and my best memories of my last two. This school year went by so incredibly fast, and it was probably the best school year of my life. You might not miss your high school but you'll miss the memories you made and the people you met, so soak it all in while you can.
9. What about the last few months do you think you'll remember most?
I think I'll remember the feelings of these past few months. They've gone by in a blur for me, but I know I've been struggling with my emotions. I won't forget that and how I've persevered despite being in quarantine.
10. What is the best thing high school has taught you?
The best thing high school taught me about was passion and hard work, and the best thing it gave me was confidence. I tried so many different classes and extracurriculars to find what I was passionate about and I finally did: writing. I worked so hard the past three years to become a writer that I'm proud of. My school's environment pushed me to become who I am today while feeling completely supported throughout my journey. I also eventually gained so much confidence from the shy new kid I was as a freshman. I've grown into my own person who made a mark on my high school.