Even when there was just a rumor that school might be shut down for two weeks, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be true because I didn’t want to miss those two weeks of my senior year. I told my friends who were hoping for some time off that every day at school counts since we are leaving soon. But three months later, I am getting ready for my drive-through graduation and saying goodbye to my teachers of four years over Zoom.
In the beginning, it was hard to see the light in all the darkness of quarantine. I couldn’t spend time with my friends, I couldn’t go to the store without a mask, I had to complete all of my classes online, all of the beaches were closed, and it seemed to me like the whole country had just shut down. It was hard to accept that I was never going back to Drake again.
But after all, there is some light. I know, after I mentioned all of the depressing parts of this pandemic, it is hard to imagine what I could be thinking. But really, I have realized that it is not so bad. One of the first silver linings is that I get to spend a ton (and I mean A TON) of time with my family before I move out for college. All of the little fights I have with my sisters that I wouldn’t have gotten to have really makes this situation sweet. In all honesty, I am really glad to be with my family because we are all helping each other through this together.
Another positive part about being a graduate during this time is how this year will go down in history, and my graduating class will be remembered for it. Not only are we the class that doesn’t get their last semester, but we are the class of resilience and growth. From Trump’s election to protesting for gun control and women’s rights to this virus, we have experienced it all. And because of this, we, as students, are growing into this world as activists. As men and women are being killed for the color of their skin, our generation is a part of the change. The streets are filled with my classmates because we have been taught all throughout high school how to make our voices heard. As a student in the class of 2020, I know that this will be in the history books of my children, and I will get to say that I was a part of it.
I have learned that as corona continues to cancel event after event that I was looking forward to, there are still things that it cannot cancel. First, corona can’t cancel everything that we have learned throughout high school. No, I’m not talking about the quadratic formula or essay structure, I am talking about our adaptability, strong mindedness and work ethic. We have learned how to become the next leaders of this world, and even without a real graduation, we are still on that path. Second, corona can’t cancel our voices. We are the era of social media and protests, and we use whatever platform we have to be heard about the issue we are faced with. Finally, corona can’t cancel the bonds that my graduating class has. Even though we can’t be together, it is comforting to know that we are in this together. I know that I am not alone, and I am getting support from everyone around me.
Although this virus has changed the ending I always thought I would have for my high school career, it has set my class apart and given us a lot to be proud of. After graduating during this pandemic, I am confident that I can enter the world and conquer anything I set my mind to. I feel more prepared than ever for college classes because I have been independently learning for the past three months. I am not as afraid of leaving my family because I have had plenty of time to get sick of them. And finally, I have confidence that when something is thrown in my way, I will be able to get through it. The positive side of this pandemic is the growth and understanding that I have gotten out of it, not to mention all the attention. I have gained a wider view of the developing world that I am about to be entering.
Sierra Cusick, a Woodacre resident and Drake High School graduate, was selected as a winner of the Woodacre Country Market & Deli’s graduation essay contest.