With the sun beaming onto my face and not a cloud in the sky, I saw my senior year shining before me. Although I knew the year would not be all rainbows and sunshine, I was ecstatic for the challenges facing me. I sprinted into the first day of school with butterflies in my stomach; I ran across the initial checkpoint of my first semester.
As the leaves began to fall off the trees, and the green forests turned to vibrant oranges and reds, homecoming was right around the corner. It was my last ever time to dress up in all purple for ‘color day’ and rep my favorite team for ‘character day’. It was my last time to walk across the football field with the Friday night lights glimmering onto me as I was announced for homecoming court.
“You’re on the homestretch now!” my step-dad said to me on my first day of my second semester. Throughout the first two months and a half, these words rang throughout my head, a bell constantly reminding me to keep going.
On Feb. 17, I set onto the trip of a lifetime to Europe. A trip that left my fourth-grade-self dumbfounded in disbelief that I would ever get to see the Eiffel Tower or see the London Bridge. We got to live out all of our Pinterest board dreams: we drank coffee at cute French coffee shops, saw glorious, vintage bookshops in London, and ate gelato in Rome. Blinded by the excitement of going on my dream trip with all of my best friends, the CoronaVirus discussion was simply a meaningless blip at the time.
Up until March 12, my senior year was going just as I imagined. That was the day that my entire world changed. With the constant alerts of COVID-19 buzzing relentlessly and school board emails as a constant warning that my expectations were about to be turned upside down. I lost many volunteer opportunities then was greeted with the notion that my first ever school musical may be cancelled. Overtime, my March calendar I filled with excitement back in February grew more and more red X’s every day. I never would have expected for the next three months to look like this.
Along with my senior year potentially going down the drain, I could not help thinking about my peers who are forced to be quarantined in poisonous, abusive homes. My mind could not stray away from the thought of people with compromised immune systems petrified of getting sick. My daydreams did not stop drifting to the people losing loved ones every day. I was angry; COVID-19 snatched my dreams and others’ livelihoods with it’s cold hands. With a clenched jaw, tear-filled eyes, and a pounding head, I decided that I needed to release.
Like many of us, I was caught up in things I cannot control. This is nobody’s fault, and everyone should be on the same team. As we sit on the frontlines of our homes coated in Lysol spray and filled with heaps of toilet paper that will last for God knows how long, our doctors, nurses, lawmakers, and more are at war against COVID-19. It is not only our job to stay home and keep clean hands, but to also look at the positive. In the midst of all the stress, constant updates, and overwhelming change, there is something beautiful gleaming in the corner of our eyes: a silver lining.
For the first time, as a loud, bubbly, over-excited extrovert, I am in tune with silence. My home is engulfed by the placid sounds of fingers typing, pen and pencil on paper, and pages flipping. I used to be uncomfortable with the quiet, now it consoles me.
As a control freak myself, I am allowing myself to let go. Growing older, I try to become more comfortable with uncertainty and the unknown. This is definitely a culture shock; it’s painful and it’s real. Try to embrace it and be in the present in all the chaos and uncomfort.
Even though it is only the first week, I have spent so much time with my siblings I had no idea I was missing. Soon, I will be leaving for college with limited time to see my family. Jumping on “the tramp” as my siblings call it, are special. Making up silly dances to perform for our parents is special. These precious moments are so very special.
Although I would rather be greeting my teachers in person and laughing with my friends in class, appreciating alone time is so important. I will be an adult in August, and I will be forced to go out alone sometimes. I am thankful I am learning this lesson sooner than later.
The most important thing we can do is be patient and kind with one another. Everyone is struggling with loss in some way, from a loved one to senior prom. Instead of wasting energy being sad about ‘social distancing’, take the time to realize what you gain from this. We cannot be angry at things we cannot control, but we can adapt. We can overcome. We can find the silver lining.