Senior Let Down’s

Seniors are grappling with the effects of a pandemic totally out of their control.

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The 2020 seniors live’s have drastically changed due to the global pandemic halting their final stretch of high school.

Kaitlyn Piggott, Print Editor-in-Chief

The class of 2020 is getting used to the supposed to’s. They were supposed to be getting all dolled up to go to a big banquet hall to dance awkwardly together, just so they could pull out those pictures twenty years from now and say how the dresses are so out of style. They were supposed to finish out the last of their spring sports and clubs, what many have been waiting for their entire high school career. They were supposed to drive around town and spray their peers with water. They were supposed to have the ceremonious clap out, as they walked through the halls of the school they’re leaving. They were supposed to have this epic spring break with family and friends. They were supposed to finish up with all those AP classes, so they could just breathe for the rest of the year. They were supposed to all file into the O’rena to walk up those steps and beg not to trip, to have their hard-earned diploma handed to them. 

Yet, just because they are supposed to, doesn’t mean they will. 

And really? What of this specific senior class has gone the way it was “supposed” to? The class of 2020 was born in the immediate wake of 9/11, therefore instilling the lingering fear of a terrorist attack. The year before they were supposed to go into schooling, there was the deadliest school shooting of all time, thus igniting a frequency in shootings. As they were embarking on their final year of elementary school, there was the deadliest shooting on an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Then, their senior year was interrupted by the fear and death of a world-wide pandemic. Every milestone this class seems to have, there is something hanging over them. All these weren’t “supposed” to happen. 

It doesn’t mean the class doesn’t have a right to be angry or upset about how their high school years are coming to a close, yet they have years under their belts now. They understand they don’t have a choice about this. They wish it didn’t happen, yet perhaps they are wiser because of it. 

For senior Casey Dimsdale, her plan was to embrace the last couple months of her senior year, spend the last semester with friends reminiscing as well as compete with the waterpolo team. Yet, Dimsdale is trying to reframe her thinking and look forward to what is ahead of her: college.

“I have really started making connections with people I’m going to college with and that’s helped me look forward to my future instead of despairing about what I lost,” Dimsdale said. 

The disappointment is widespread for the class of 2020. Senior Freddrick Fan was planning to go to Ypsilanti with a couple friends during his spring break. Fan, though, is using his home time to connect with friends while playing online video games. Like many, Fan was confused and disappointed about the state-wide closure of schools, but he says now that the initial feelings have changed, he is amazed by the human spirit.

“As I learned the facts and learned of tragedies like family friends unfortunately passing away, I realized that the lives of our community was more important than anything,” Fan said. 

Although these seniors, and many others, are grappling with the pandemic and everything resulting from it, seniors are trying to stay optimistic and live in the present. Senior Sam Kneale says he is keeping himself busy with the people he cares about. Senior Nahiyan Shirajee is focusing on his studies. Senior Hannah Richard says she is spending time with friends as if it was the last time. 

The class of 2020 will greatly impact this period in history, just as this period will impact them. Maybe it will shape them to be empathetic and kind. Maybe it will make them crave a simpler, slower life. Maybe this is the class who has more respect to the wide-range of front line heroes and more admiration for their elders and parents. 

Maybe, they have already changed the narrative in place. Maybe they’ve already changed how senior students are “supposed” to be. 

Dimsdale wants the senior class to remember the good times of their high school years and wants them to be grateful for what they had. 

“This is only a small part of our lives and yes it’s an important part but we have lots of more exciting things in store for us,” Dimsdale said.

Kneale wants to let people know that this is the time to complete goals. 

“It’s gonna be okay,” Kneale said. “[It] sucks right now and you can’t change it. You just have to accept where you are right now and navigate it accordingly. Use this time to be productive and do things you never had a chance to do. It’s gonna be okay and you will be better because of it.”

Shirajee knows this is out of his, and his peers’ control and he’s hopeful for a better summer. Richard wants her peers to know this will get better. Senior Caleb Watts focuses on the mental health aspect of the pandemic, and he wants his peers to know there are people who can help. 

“There are people willing to hear you out and talk to you about anything that may be going on with you physically, mentally, and emotionally, all you need to do is reach out,” Watts said. “It’s understandable to be scared to allow yourself to be that vulnerable, but right now, the most important thing to focus on for yourself. Whatever you’re going through, just know you’ll come out [in] the end even stronger and more secure than you were before.”

Many seniors are trying to stay optimistic, and some are attempting to focus on themselves during this period. Either way, they are surviving, they are balancing the fear of a pandemic as well as finishing up a school year strong. They are holding onto disappointments of their senior year, and looking forward to the future. They are growing and evolving. Like Watts said, even though this wasn’t “supposed” to happen, perhaps they will be stronger coming out of this; maybe, the class of 2020 already is. 

Maybe they were supposed to be more caring, stronger. Maybe like senior Denada Kapallni says, they will see the world in a new lens. Possibly, like Fan says, the class will have more respect and will see how precious life is. 

The class of 2020 will be molded by these days, and the days as they grew up. Yes, they were sabotaged of what was “supposed” to happen. One can only speculate then, the current seniors, the future leaders and members of this community, will be better than anything they were “supposed” to be.