Column: Struggling in the storm

‘I believe the people who are greatly impacted during these frightening times are high school seniors.’

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Clarise Tujardon

“For years, I wondered what dress and heels I would wear as I walk up the stage and receive my diploma.”

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, numerous schools are closed throughout the country greatly impacting students around the world. This saddens my heart as I’ve seen my peers working hard to graduate. Although students of all levels of education are impacted by these events, I believe the people who are greatly impacted during these frightening times are high school seniors.

Since freshman year, I have worked to pass my classes and maintain my grades. Throughout that time, I thought of one thing and one thing only to help me get through the tough times. When I didn’t understand a subject or was frustrated with my assignments, there was only one thing I could think of in order to push through.

Graduation.

For years, I wondered what dress and heels I would wear as I walk up the stage to receive my diploma. Would I feel a sense of accomplishment as my parents take pictures of my friends and me as high school graduates? Now, that dream feels like a far away fantasy – once destined to be one of the life-changing milestones I always dreamed of. Now, I may never know what it would look like.

With the cancellation of schools, we’re able to enjoy some fresh air and recharge from the stress we receive from school. We are able to watch all the movies, TV shows and pull all the all-nighters we want while enjoying the time we have to relax.

The coronavirus has taken various things from me and my fellow seniors. Moments with friends are taken away from us. The only way we can create those moments is through Facetime and phone calls. Even though we can still hear the sound of our friends’ laughter through the phone or see their beaming smiles through Facetime, it’s not the same. We miss hanging out with them in person and hugging them without the fear of getting infected.

This virus has not only possibly been taken away graduation and time with our friends, but memories we could’ve created for the remainder of our senior year. As much as I miss school, I understand this virus is a serious problem. The cancellation of senior events is necessary for the health and safety of the students and the community.

As much as I love not waking up early at 6:30 in the morning to get ready for school, I miss interacting with my teachers daily. The feeling of passing each assignment and knowing I am one step closer to graduating high school doesn’t feel the same anymore. I’m not able to communicate with my teachers the way I would in person when I’m struggling with an assignment. In person, they’d help me out with the area I’m struggling in, whereas online I have to email them and wait for them to respond as I become frustrated. Although, I understand the teachers are frustrated too as much as we are and are trying their best to help out all their students.

Throughout it all, this virus has impacted lives in horrible ways. But it has taught us lessons too. It has taught us to cherish the time we all have in school, even if we feel like giving up. But in general, not to take anything for granted because we never know if we’ll have that again.

As time goes on, we hear the horrible impact this virus is having on our day-to-day lives. The sense of freedom begins to disappear. It starts to feel like we’re caged behind the walls of our own homes, not knowing when all this chaos will be over.

When this is all over, I hope high school seniors don’t take the things we used to do for granted. Hugs from our friends, handshakes from our teachers and the opportunities we have from attending school. The coronavirus may have taken those from seniors, but we gained a brighter perspective on how lucky we were all before the storm hit us.