What I’ve Learned as a Senior in a Pandemic


Unsplash Images

Nandi Smith, feature writer

The past two years have been unusual, to say the least. The pandemic has changed life for everyone around the world as we know it. It’s kept families apart, had people on edge, and brought out both the best and worst of humanity. 

Being a student who has had half of my junior year and all of my senior year of high school altered by the pandemic, there have been more ways than one that COVID has had an interesting impact on my life.

If I’m being completely honest, when the pandemic first hit in March it was bittersweet. I was extremely sad because there was no telling when I would be able to see many of my favorite people again.

 I didn’t know when my next sleepovers, weekend errands with friends, or lunch dates would be.  This social deprivation was stressful, but luckily it worked out. Everyone who really mattered stepped up to ensure the strong bonds that we all had were well maintained.

My closest friends and I talked just as much, if not more than, before the stay-at-home orders. I even felt like there was an openness and sense of community with associates from school that was not there before. I came up with creative activities I had never done before like car meetups and walking the trail with friends. I even reached out to people and struck up a conversation just because.

I enjoyed the newfound time I had. I had time to watch a lot of movies, shows, find new music, go on car rides and more. Having idle time was so bliss at times because I could really stop and take into account all that there was to be grateful for and start being intentional about life altogether since there was so much uncertainty around.

Many social media pages popped up that were started dedicated to positive news, John Krasinsky created somewhat of an online happy news channel to combat all the sad news the world was being overwhelmed with. 

I really enjoyed that part of the pandemic because it was a situation where everyone was rendered optionless. It taught me that for good or for bad there are always things that you can choose for yourself, even when you feel helpless you never really are. It’s about the level of agency you take in your own life. 

Maintaining this sense of optimism and gratitude throughout the year became harder and harder as the pandemic continued. I had prepared myself to push through the rest of junior year from my room and even the start of senior year. However, after getting through the first semester remaining optimistic seemed like a daily chore.

I had looked forward to finishing my senior year with my friends and seizing every opportunity thrown my way, but it was hard to fully let go of my vision for senior year. Not being in school also made it feel almost like a repeated junior year.

The only reminders that this was my last year of high school were college applications, turning 18 and the more mundane things of the senior year like senior-only email blast from the school.

Most of the time the main thing that kept me and my friends pushing was the possibility of end-of-the-year activities.

 In the end, I think that’s what made the entire senior year. Having the senior-only football games, the stroll and graduation have made going through the whole year in a pandemic a little more worth it because at least we’re having those major end-of-the-year experiences.

My best takeaway from this whole crazy end of high school experience is that the pandemic served as something that would forever bond my senior class and generation. It’s the event that has shaped all of us in one way or another, so I think it has created a different sort of connection among us.  This kind of unspoken bond has added something so much more to what it means to be a 2021 graduate.