By Sarah Lewis
As a member of the graduating class of 2020, my classmates and I were born right after 9/11 and lived through many global catastrophes like SARS in 2003, swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014, and mass shootings in 2017. But we weren’t quite old enough to truly understand the extent of those events.
However, now being 17 or 18 years old, we are able to see what goes on behind the scenes during a pandemic and how surreal it really is.
Because of this pandemic, we seniors are affected not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Through these battles, I have learned many lessons about life. Although this may sound cliche, with the abrupt, perilous nature of this outbreak, I have learned to never take anything for granted and to be selfless in the wake of mass selfishness.
With COVID-19, in just a few months, the entire world has been turned upside down and we seniors were not able to experience many different milestones the seniors before us were able to be a part of — those same exact milestones we have been looking forward to throughout our high school years.
Since it was our senior year, we sadly missed out on proms, traditional graduations, and simply seeing our friends everyday at school. No one could have expected that the last day we would be able to see our friends and classmates in person would be the day before spring break. Instead, we all said our goodbyes, our “have a good break,” and went our separate ways, expecting to come back in a week and tell our stories. However, with the crucial state the world was in, we were never able to do that.
Of course, we were all looking forward to those events and special gatherings senior year is all about, but now we just have to come to terms with never being able to experience it and make light of the situation. For instance, the thought of having a virtual graduation ceremony would have seemed like an inconceivable ending to the past 13 years of schooling if mentioned at the beginning of high school. However, after participating in the very first one, I am grateful to have had any form of recognition in this time of uncertainty.
Regardless of how sentimental it may be, from this whole situation I have learned to appreciate the events I did get to experience, like football games with my best friends, homecomings, state championships, junior prom, and most importantly making friendships that will last a lifetime.
I just have to look back at these past four years and be grateful for everything I was able to experience. For that reason, I am thankful for this unprecedented pandemic teaching me this very important lesson, and for changing my perspective on life.
Sarah Lewis is a 2020 graduate of James Campbell High School, where she was active in clubs, soccer, and the International Baccalaureate program. She will be attending Grand Canyon University in the fall and plans to study English with an emphasis in professional writing.