For the class of 2020, this pandemic is not how they pictured the end of their high school career. It’s an understatement to say seniors have been facing lots and lots of disappointment. But what exactly are many seniors feeling right now?
With the move to online classes for the Liberty Union High School District, students have gotten used to adjusted deadlines, zoom calls, and online AP exams. Distance learning has been created as an attempt to keep educating students during this pandemic in a more convenient and accessible manner. Yet, for seniors who have already been affected by senioritis, distance learning has only accelerated difficulty to complete work.
“This pandemic has destroyed my work ethic,” said Fiona Fox (12), a senior enrolled in many difficult AP courses. “My motivation to do anything has gone completely down the drain as I find myself overwhelmed with assignments given to me all at once.”
For Aisling Alvarez (12), the pandemic has affected her post-graduation plans to attend UC Irvine in the fall.
“The virus has caused my college to stop guaranteeing freshman housing for next year and that’s extremely stressful,” said Alvarez, “and it looks like classes will be online for the fall semester… I know it’s for the best so I’m pretty content about it.”
This is a bleak reality for many seniors, as EdSource states, many CSU’s and UC’s have decided to opt for online classes in the fall. Seniors may be forced to miss out on the classic “freshman experience” post-graduation.
Though seniors have been affected academically by the virus, the impact on seniors socially has also proved to be difficult. Senior Ball, originally scheduled for May 16th, has since been canceled and the fate of an in-person graduation remains undecided. Events such as Senior Banquet and Scholarship Night were held virtually, and it is likely that other normal senior events will be online as well.
These cancellations have taken a toll on seniors like Kayla Plunkett (12), who have been promised these events for the past 12 years only to have them taken away last minute.
“The most difficult thing about being a senior right now is seeing all those events and moments that we have been looking forward to for years pass by us,” said Plunkett, “I’ve noticed that it is really difficult to let go of all the what-ifs and create new experiences.”
As the school year ends, the chance for many seniors to have a proper send-off diminishes. With events being canceled, seniors miss out on saying goodbye to teachers and acquaintances that they may not see outside of school, especially those who plan on moving away after graduation.
“We didn’t have the gradual realization that school was ending, we didn’t have the last class parties after finals, we didn’t have yearbooks to sign,” said Fox, “The sudden departure combined with the separation from our friends has combined to make a lonely and sad isolation period.”
Despite the general melancholy, many individuals have reached out to support seniors in this challenging time. Local businesses have offered free services to seniors to help cheer them up, such as Krispy Kreme giving away a dozen donuts to the class of 2020. A Facebook group of moms has also tried to bring joy by “Adopting a Senior” and gifting them unique items to make up for lost events.
“I can see just how much the parents and staff care, with all the ‘Adopt a Seniors’ and how hard they are working to lift our spirits,” said Plunkett, “My parents are doing all they can to make our own events and I truly appreciate it all so much!”
These small acts of kindness have helped many students grow optimistic, and though senior year has ended in an unorthodox sense, seniors like Alvarez have tried to look on the bright side.
“Our lives are starting in an unconventional way and we just need to spread our arms and embrace the bad with good,” said Alvarez “The good will come and when it does it will be so unbelievably worth it.”
During this rough time for seniors, it is most important to remember to reach out and support each other. Though everyone is experiencing the effects of COVID-19, lending a hand, and showing affection towards one another can help ease the pain many seniors are going through right now.