My brother and I at his high school graduation. (Emilie Houge)
My brother and I at his high school graduation.

Emilie Houge

What being a high school senior is like during COVID

March 10, 2021

Being a high school senior coming up on the last quarter of high school, I have found myself reflecting on the past year and what we seniors have missed out on.

Having an older brother, I watched what he was doing when he was a senior and always heard fun stories. I would think to myself, “I can’t wait for that day when I get to do the same exciting ‘senior’ things.”

All we want is some normalcy for graduation. (“DSC_0048” by CliffMuller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Being a high school senior, you look forward to seeing all of your friends when you return to school after summer. You look forward to Friday night football games when you finally get to be on the bottom of the bleachers leading the school cheers. You look forward to being able to design and create the yearbook for the rest of the student body. You look forward to getting ready for prom with your friends, taking pictures, and dancing the night away. You look forward to walking across the stage, being handed your diploma, and looking up at your parents with a smile.

 

This year was full of empty hallways. (Emilie Houge)

The reality is, all of this has been taken away from us. Ripped away and gone. We will never be able to say we got to experience our senior year because we stared at a computer screen for half the year. That being said, you truly forget about people that go to your school. We will never be able to say that we got to be at the bottom of the bleachers at the Friday night football games, leading the student section cheers.

Creating the yearbook this year was so hard because half the year nobody was in the school. Relying on students to answer google surveys and send pictures was very difficult, and it made our job a lot more laborious.

We never will be able to say we got a normal prom-unless you were lucky enough to go to prom as a sophomore. Our junior prom was taken away from us, and now no dancing is allowed at our senior prom. A grand march and a dinner are all we get, which is better than nothing but, of course, it is not the same. We do not know what is in store for graduation, but the possibility of not being able to walk across the stage, being handed our diploma, and smiling at our parents, is a sad thing to accept.

This whole year we have been waiting for something positive to happen for us- to be recognized for all the hard work we have put in the last 12 years. Even though a lot of us put on smiling faces for school, it is very hard to be living in the moment this year and not knowing what will happen next. We could be shut down again at any given moment, and spend the rest of the year back in our houses.

Class of 2021 tassel. (Photo Via Jostens under the creative commons license.)

The escalated stress about college next year is also something that we would not have expected to have to deal with. Choosing what school you will attend next year is painfully hard because you do not know what will happen next year. How do you pick a school when the campus is closed and you cannot see it in person? How can you pick a school by looking at pictures of campus online? Are we gonna have to spend our first semester of college at home doing online school yet again? How will we make friends and meet new people if we are stuck staring at people’s letters on zoom?

A lot of people say, “Don’t worry” or “It will pass” or “I don’t even remember my senior year.”

But for us, we will remember. We will remember everything that went wrong, everything we did not get, and everything that we will never get.

So from a class of 2021 graduate, all we are asking for is a ‘semi-normal’ year. We want normalcy. We want our senior experience. We want sympathy.

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