Due to the rapid spreading of COVID-19, schools and universities across the country have shut their doors and encouraged students and faculty to go home. In some cases, online classes are being offered, either for a limited period of time or for the remainder of the semester. There are some major institutions that have even canceled the rest of the semester, telling students not to return from Spring Break, better known as Spring Break 2.0.
While this may seem like a fun time for a mental health break to most, for college and high school seniors it's their worst nightmare. With their last "senior moments" ripped away from them and the looming threat of no graduation on the rise, soon-to-be graduates have stopped ordering their caps & gowns and are coming to the realization that they won't be able to say goodbye to their roommates or favorite professors.
"Although it might not mean much, I wanted to say I'm sorry your senior year was robbed from you and thank you."
Thank you to the seniors who are being honest with their professors about online learning and thank you to the seniors who are cooperating with their professors and internships. Thank you to the seniors who are incredibly upset but aren't taking their anger out on the faculty or staff. To the seniors who were forced off-campus and are currently living somewhere temporarily, thank you for moving anyway. To the seniors who still live near your university and have opened their homes up to students without a home, thank you for your generosity. Thank you to the seniors who have moved back home to their families to help with the crisis. To the seniors who aren't able to finish their internships or continue working, thank you for the work you have done for the better half of the semester. Thank you to the seniors who are taking this experience as a chance to do all the little projects you haven't had time to do. Thank you to the seniors who won't have a prom, a formal, graduation, or any of their last senior experiences.
Why? Because you will get a chance unlike any other - you will get to see the truth and grow from this tough experience.
You have this opportunity to see first-hand how the American medical system has failed us, the flaws and the cracks in crucial parts of the country. You will see how community health is difficult, how politics and laws are more than just rivalries, how the art community and small businesses have to adapt in the wake of a looming threat.
You will see how teachers are more than a classroom because education is more than an underfunded last thought.
You will see how journalists and the media are more than the joke our President makes of them because they still go out and risk their health for the sake of the truth. You will see how retail employees, construction workers, daycare workers, taxi drivers, flight staff, plumbers, electricians, gas station attendants, store clerks, and volunteer workers - all these people we were told to "go to school, so you won't end up like them" are the BACKBONE of America. You will see the truth in a landlord who can't kick his unemployed tenants out, the truth in your friendly neighborhood Karen who will back up six feet and like it, the truth in your older sibling who keeps going to parties thinking they won't get their parents sick, and the truth in CEOs, celebrities, and corporations to see who truly cares about their "employees" and "fans."
Use this opportunity to educate, flourish, master your craft, resolve your mental health, and succeed because soon, you guys will be those workers who can put "adapts to newfound environments under stressful time constraints" on their resumes. It's going to be the seniors of 2020 who thrive to be the better workforce era. And it's going to be awesome.