Everyone throughout the world is experiencing the worst pandemic in over a century.
Our lives as Americans have drastically changed over the past year from it being an election year to protests throughout the United States and, most notably, the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a senior in high school, I am nowhere near experiencing the worst of the world; however, it has most definitely been a long year.
Senior year of high school is supposed to be the greatest year yet with Friday night football games, school dances, hanging out with friends, and even just getting to see your friends in class.
Gerome Coralde, a senior at Eagan High School, said it best, “We were told that our senior year of high school was going to be one of the best,” and most it truly did not live up to expectations.
For many students it feels as though our senior year was stolen and all efforts to save it have failed.
Over the past week, I have talked to many friends and fellow seniors at Eagan High School, asking them the big question:
What has Covid meant for you?
What was amazing to me was how every answer was different, but still expressed the same general emotions. Some students had answers as simple as, “it sucks,” and others were over a paragraph long; each one starting by expressing sadness for what they felt we had lost, yet ending their answer with a glimmer of hope as to what the future holds and how these hardships have helped us move forward, even just one year later.
For Colin Roberts it was, “the lack of unity being completely virtual,” not being able to see friends at sporting events and everyday classes.
Our generation is rooted in our constant unity, whether it’s due to playing sports together everyday or the national ideals we were raised under that prioritize working together to succeed rather than as many individuals.
Despite the struggles best illustrated by Colin, we’ve also learned to cope by focusing on the positives as a whole.
Many seniors have taken the opportunity to use the time that would have gone to hanging out with friends and turned it into a chance to get a head start on college preparation and getting some work experience.
One student who gave a great example of using free time for college work is Josie Lenartz finding that, “it is easier to find time to work and apply to colleges,” as many have, myself included.
The college application process is definitely one of the hardest struggles of senior year, having to write essays, get recommendations, and fill out the applications themselves, but with the extra time given to us by the pandemic, finding time has been much easier.
My own experience is not much different from those of Colin and Josie. I do wish we could have lived our senior year to the fullest and be together at football and volleyball games, and I still hope that we get even a glimpse of prom and graduation, but the time I’ve been given has been quite beneficial.
Although I didn’t get a full season of soccer for my senior year, the pandemic provided me a smooth transition into a job as a soccer coach as well as a great opportunity to start looking forward into my career as a whole.
Along with gaining work experience, I got to have my older siblings and my parents at home and had my first family dinner with them in almost two years.
Although this pandemic may seem endless, and sometimes it can be difficult to stay positive, there are still other things to do to finish out the year strong.
5 Points to Stay Positive
1. Take a moment to destress and relax. For most seniors that will mean going to bed an hour or two earlier than usual, planning out a schedule to keep away from that last minute homework panic, and spending a little less time on your phone and a little more time out experiencing life.
2. Don’t set unrealistic expectations based on social media. Now I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, and I’m guilty of it too, but pictures of beaches and parties that are shared on Snapchat and Instagram are about as unrealistic as things get when it comes to life in quarantine. This point will be most important come spring break time as you’ll be missing your senior spring break and all the #ThrowBackThursday posts will be filling your feed.
3.The third tip comes from senior Lindsey Clarin who says, “it’s important to remember everything you had pre-Covid, and be excited about what you will have post-Covid.” This is an extremely valuable point as those amazing memories with your friends will always be there to cheer you up, and even more are waiting to be made.
4. Make life as enjoyable as possible. Whether that means zooms with your friends or a masked up lunch on the deck, there’s lots you can do to get an early head start on safe little get-togethers with friends and family.
5. Don’t be afraid to go see a therapist. Every person from NFL players to high school seniors can benefit from a therapist even without being locked up for almost a year, so talking to a professional is the best thing you can do to find a safe environment to just let it all out.
So yes, this pandemic has been difficult for everyone and, as seniors, we may have been robbed of an amazing year, but as Will Bockenstedt so wisely said when asked what covid meant for him, “it kinda sucked but being able to make it work has been fun.”
Fun made from hope for a better future, fun made from new experiences, a unique kind of fun for the graduating class of 2021!