To the Graduating Class of COVID-19

By Salma Ashraf

Your frustration with a global pandemic abruptly ending your senior year with no warning is valid. Your frustration with not knowing that that was your last time doing that one thing on campus is acceptable. Your frustration with expecting to overcome your impending seniorities and keep going is heard. Your frustration with graduating into a shitty global economy is okay. 

It’s normal to be frustrated–it’s not selfish or unsound. 

For most of us, we entered this semester with somewhat of a plan for how we wanted to go about the next couple of months: get that degree, find a full-time job, and say ‘yes’ to every single plan proposed by our friends. It was already stressful enough not knowing what our future constituted exactly, with many of us not having a job lined up–I know I barely even knew what industry I wanted to work in, but I was okay with this kind of unknown: the stage of my life where I figured out what I want to do and who I want to be. It was exciting and stimulating. This, however, is not what I signed up for. The unknown of how long #stayhome will last, and the emails from previously scheduled interviews informing me that job postings have been closed until this is all “figured out” are not exciting or stimulating–it’s scary and worrisome. 

But we’ve have made it this far, and that shouldn’t go unseen. You deserve to be proud of yourself, to celebrate and honor your achievements. We all faced challenges throughout the years, and we overcame each and every one of them to reach this stage. Maybe this is the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your school years, or maybe you had bigger battles to fight, but regardless, remember during this time that you’re so close to the finish line. A global pandemic is not it; There is still so much yet to come, so take this opportunity to go easy on yourself. 

You’re not expected to come out of this quarantine having learned two new languages or to have become an entrepreneur. It’s okay to struggle during this time of uncertainty, and to go about this day by day. Your mental health is just as important as anything else, so go easy on yourself. It’s more than okay to not be "making the most out of your quarantine." This is a time for unity and strength, to be there for our loved ones and to support each other. 

At the end of the storm, there is a golden sky.