An Open Letter to the High School Class of 2020 From the College Class of 2020

Dear Class of 2020 High School Seniors,

Wow. Never thought your high school experience would be ending this way, huh? There’s a whole pandemic outside, you’re locked inside with just your family and you can’t even see your friends or go to school. I can’t imagine exactly how you’re feeling, but I can try.

I’m a college senior who was supposed to be walking across the stage in the spring. However, like some of you, my commencement was canceled and I’m not even allowed on campus anymore. I didn’t know my last time walking past the library on my way to class was the last time. I didn’t know I would never be able to walk across the seal in the Student Union. I didn’t know I went to my last Her Campus at UCF meeting (in person) until after it was over. My classes are online and I have an off-campus apartment, sure — but in my opinion, my college experience is over. And even after all of that, you guys have it a hundred times worse than I could ever consider I do. 

My little sister and best friend are both seniors in high school (Hi Sammi! Hi Megan!). As of now, I have no idea if either of them are going to have the chance to walk across their high school graduation stage. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to attend prom and dance the night away with all their friends. Heck, I don’t even know if they’re going back to school at some point this year. They don’t deserve that. They don’t deserve any of this. They are ending 13 years of schooling by not being able to celebrate — and that sucks. And no one should be invalidating their feelings over it, despite what is happening.

I understand there is nothing that can be done at this point. Social distancing is essential to flatten the curve — I get it. But the disappointment we are all experiencing right now is perfectly fair. I am so tired of seeing the statement “it could be worse” as a reason for seniors to just get over it. People are not able to experience once-in-a-lifetime moments because the whole world is currently closed. And that sucks.

I hope you guys are able to go to prom with all your friends. I hope your graduations happen as scheduled and you can walk the stage, cheering on your friends as you go. I hope once the lockdown ends on April 30, we can all get back to life as usual. But no matter what happens, remember your feelings and disappointment are perfectly valid. Even if you do get to go back to school in May, attend prom and walk at graduation, you had a month of spending time at the place you’ve called home for the past four years stripped from you. Heck, most colleges are putting orientation online (including UCF)! Of course, be grateful for what you have, but don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a right to be upset if you do get to experience those things (either late or on time). You only have a few more months with all your friends in the same place and the time you missed is time you will never be able to make up. 

From the college graduation class of 2020 to the high school graduation class of 2020 — I’m sorry. I hope you guys make the best memories while you can. I hope for you guys, the world is safe to open again on May 1 and your proms/graduation go on as planned. I hope Sammi and Megan can get those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that no senior should have to be okay with missing. And I hope everyone realizes that the disappointment everyone is experiencing during this time doesn’t make them selfish or not understanding — it makes them human.

Good luck class of 2020. I hope we all get the celebrations we deserve. You deserve to have your senior year experience more than just a memory in the history books. 

Love,

The UCF Class of 2020

seven graduates throwing their hats