This article is for the second senior class graduating in a pandemic; the ones who a year ago witnessed our graduating friends experiencing the same feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and frustration. Any promises of a normal summer and fall were broken as quickly as they were made as no one ever predicted we would still be in this mess. We thought for sure things would return to normal in 2021 and cling to the idea that our senior year would make up for a lost junior year.
At times, it does not feel real. It feels like we will return to campus in the fall with the rest of our classmates, enjoying our days in the library and by the food trucks. I am excited for everyone else to have that experience and I hope they find a new love of waiting in the long Starbucks line, find their spot in the library that they always go to, and take the time to sit out in the Quad on a sunny day. The better days are yet to come, and I know the Class of 2021 will have new kinds of memories waiting for us.
We got to experience college with two sets of memories: pre-pandemic and nearly post-pandemic. It is hard to process that we are in the same spot almost a year later and even harder to process that all of our “lasts” are around the corner. A final virtual Zoom chapter meeting does not hit the same as seeing the faces of the ones who have surrounded you for your entire college experience, but it is better than not having any meetings at all. We still get to maintain that connection with others, even if it is through a computer screen. If anything, the struggles of a pandemic brought us even closer to our peers who feel the same way we do.
Take in every “last” moment, whether it is what you expected or not. It is so easy to fall into the mindset that we were “cheated” out of our college experience, and at times, I feel that way too. However, it is about making the most of what we do have: our health. We still get this opportunity to graduate and with modern technology, stay connected with our friends and peers. More importantly, we have the Class of 2020 who ultimately have shown us the way to dive into something we never expected.
We are not in this alone. Whether you are a senior mourning the loss of another semester or not, we all have lost something in this pandemic. We certainly did not ask for this, but it is the hand we were dealt. It is okay to feel sad and to feel frustrated; I feel that way, too. Do not let this virtual final semester dim the light and excitement of new opportunities around the corner and the personal growth you have had through this. You are still here to read this, and that is an accomplishment in itself.
When all else fails, at least we have a killer answer to the common interview question: “What is a challenge you have had to overcome?”