The Cubs Winning the World series. Hamilton. Harambe. Pepe. The presidential election.
Those were the events that kicked off our high school years. It seems like forever ago, but it’s only been four years. We can all agree that time, especially this year, really zoomed by. These recent days have not only been challenging, but enlightening, too.
Our senior year has been bitterly cut short.
As much as we thought it would be great to escape “PR-ison,” we probably all feel like prisoners in our own homes, which is much worse. Even having to drive up Dvorak, then wait in line at 7:55 on Late Start Monday is preferable to being at home, without our friends.
COVID-19 made us step back and see how school consisted of our favorite teachers – shout out to Terhaar, Dunker, and Wads – and had our favorite activities where we did great things like winning dozens of competitions within our academic clubs, winning state twice in football, putting on glorious productions in the theater.
Under these strange circumstances, did our everyday life change considerably? Yes. Is the world as we know it going to be entirely different? Yes. Are we going to stop progressing? No. So, our senior year has not been cut short, per se.
We cannot say our year had ended abruptly without acknowledging the massive amounts of effort teachers put into setting up an internet friendly curriculum with such limited time. Without recognizing the many days our parents set up activities for us to do to make time pass more willingly. Without understanding that our friends and loved ones still kept in touch in creative ways. Without accepting that sacrifices were made in our last year here and how we personally grew in accepting them.
While our vision of the future has changed over these four years, that process has definitely accelerated this past semester.
Our lenses have seen a world without social interaction face to face, and generally, the popular opinion is that it is pretty lonely. And boring. Almost as boring as being stuck in U.S History and watching the clock go past when the bell should ring – and the bell just never rings! Or just as unlucky as the fire alarm going off for the third consecutive time and then it rains. That all got fixed, thank goodness.
However, despite these trying times, we will come out of this with a changed perspective. A perspective that other people keep us motivated, content, and our most unapologetic self.
Gratitude for one another was seen by the driveway chalk messages, the making of homemade masks, the handing out supplies to those who need it, and the list goes on.
Even the simplest gestures of gratitude are appreciated like a simple text sent in a reminder of the brighter times ahead. These times have spawned heroes on all levels. Big or small, they made a difference.
Never forget the good side of the story of 2020, and how we all have channeled more gratitude for each other through this new perspective. Call it our 2020 vision.
This whole time we have been persevering without necessarily realizing it. Every day waking up is another form of rebelling against the idea that life had to end when we shut the doors in our homes and stayed away from as many people as possible to keep everyone safe.
We have to bear in mind that we are witnesses to history. And what a great time in history to prove to everyone how much better we as individuals can make the world be.
I’ll be honest! The world, as we all know, needs some work. The world right now is like the projects that we turn in at 11:59 when we all know we had a week to complete it.
But what better time to prove our resilience, our indignant strides towards rising up against adversity. Time and time again, history has shown us that when met with opposition, a great change has been made for the better: new policies, new perspectives.
Class, we have got things to fix. And no, I am not referencing your grades.
The question was never WHAT is there to fix, it has always been WHEN. The answer, as the world unfolds itself and we see the results post-COVID, is NOW.
When we go out into the planet with this in mind, I hope this pandemic has taught us two things: Do not hesitate to @ Dr. Koch on Twitter to beg for a snow day. It worked! A few times!
In all seriousness, COVID-19 has taught us to be grateful for every day and everyone and to not let anything stop us on the way to our destinations.
One thing is for sure, everyone will remember the class of 2020. We should take this opportunity to wonder at the splendor it is that we get to be the first to graduate under these circumstances.
If we get past this as a community, as a country, as a whole connected world, we can get past anything life is going to toss our way. We will move on. We will see what the world has in store for us.
After all, we see in 2020 vision now.