An ode to the class of 2020
Today officially marked the last day of my high school career. I finished the last 4 years with a bang: submitting my online AP spanish exam through an app on my phone around 3:20 pm… fitting, right?
I suppose I am not officially a graduate until I walk across home plate at Global Life Field in Arlington, but still, my years at Heath are through. I will never place foot in the school as a student again, nor will I ever get to sneak into a game for free, with ticket stub holders thinking I’m an athlete. I will never sit in the lower end of the cafeteria again, contemplating why I brought tuna salad for lunch the 2nd time that week, or ever sprint through the two mile long halls at 3:45 pm to try and out-beat the congestion of student bodies that will fill the halls in five short minutes… And while these are all things I never thought much of going to school everyday this year, I started to think of all these things when that stay at home order didn’t expire on time, and instead, transpired for the remaining of my 2 months left of high school.
To put it short, this senior year has been a tricky thing. Over the last few months I’ve come to learn that lots of things are tricky in life. When you’re forced to stop moving, when what at times can feel like the speed of light, you notice how simple yet complicated life really is.
Going into school 9 months ago, I had heard all the hype that was to be “the great senior year.” And in a way, I think the class of 2020 got just that. It may not have gone the way anyone was expecting, but does anything worthy of being called “great” really ever go the way we planned. And while the word great can be misconstrued with other adjectives like so perfect, so much fun, and just the way graduating classes prior to us had, great can also mean memorable and different. Because most things aren’t labelled great if they’re not a little out of the ordinary.
I know some people will disagree and think the class of 2020’s senior year was anything but great, and for a while there, I thought the same thing. But as a little time has passed, reality has set in, and the future has become almost like this beacon of hope, I’ve been able to reflect on why maybe senior year wasn’t essentially ruined or why saying “we’ve been cheated of so much” maybe isnt the right way to look at things.
We got to go to school for about 6 ½ months. We got to go to football games, have homecoming, go on spring breaks, live a normal senior year for more than 3/4ths of the time we thought we would be allotted. While we missed out on prom and other sports seasons, we also gained a lot.
Some of us will possibly be leaving home in a few months to go to college. I know I was still a little unready about college going into spring break due to the fact that I felt like time had slipped through my fingers over the months. I felt like I wouldn’t have enough time with my family before I left and not enough time to take in all that was going on around me before I set off on a new adventure. If anyone was like me, this time we’ve had to stay at home has validated that I am ready… that I’ve been ready the whole time, but that now I’ve had the time I felt I needed to essentially say goodbye.
While some of us may have missed out on not seeing friends these last few months of our senior year, we have found ways to make each other see how much we all care: facetime calls until 3 am, care packages every week, group zoom calls about who has the most double chins in a photo, and birthday drive by parades.
I think these last 2 months of our senior year have no doubt been difficult and extremely scary to those that have been directly impacted by the virus. There is no taking what is going on in our world today lightly. We are living in unprecedented times, therefore I think it’s important that the class of 2020, however frustrating it may be, understand that.
If anything, these last few months of high school have taught us a lot. It has definelty been an interesting way to end this chapter of our lives. But I think we all have learned, or at least I hope we all have learned, an invaluable life lesson: life is short. It passes by quicker than any of us can fathom and that we need to be gracious for the memories that we get to make. Being where we go to school and the type of community that surrounds us, it is sometimes easy to forget that we are not entitled to or guaranteed anything. And if that is a lesson we could all have possibly learned in the last months of our high school years, that’s a pretty darn good one.
The class of 2020 simply had a different route to take than everyone likely graduating before and after us. But we can only hope this time we all have had only better equipped us for what the future holds in all our lives. It may have been different, but there’s no lying when I say, these last 4 years have definitely been a wild ride… even to the very last day.