To the Class of 2020

Subject: To the Class of 2020
From: A member of the Class of 2020
Date: 17 Mar 2020

Last month the coronavirus, to us anyway, was just a meme about some sickness and China. Last month we had no idea the effect it would have on the world, our nation, and us personally. Last month we thought that we’d still be in school laughing with our friends over a semi-decent hot lunch.

From the time that we were young we were told by our parents, the movies we watched, and by our teachers that senior year was our year. It was the year that we ran the school. It was the year that we were supposed to find the Gabriella to our Troy. It was the year where everything in life was supposed to be perfect. But kicks and giggles hit the fan and it was an incredibly large fan. The thought that our senior prom, our senior year being the captain of our team, being the officer of our club, or just being physically present when your best friend has had a rough day has all been stripped away is gut wrenching.

Personally, I am supposed to graduate on May 15, right now I don’t know if I’m going to be walking across that stage I’ve been dreaming of since 3rd grade or accepting my diploma through Google Classroom and that is terrifying. On top if that I am supposed to be going to Air Force basic training in August, I know that it sounds like a long ways away but that’s already less than five months. The fact that I was supposed to be having fun with my friends in school for the next two months was a privilege that has been taken away from me is so surreal and mind boggling. Making memories, having fun, and being stupid in school is what a teenager is all about but we are not the first ones to go through great hardships.

Our teachers and our parents are in the exact same scenario we are. If we cannot be strong for ourselves we have to be strong for them. Reach out to your teachers and see how they are doing, if they need help with distance-learning then help them. Talk to your parents, yes, I said talk to your parents and see how you can help them around the house. Spend time with your siblings because you will be seeing a lot more of them than normal. This is just a sucky hand we’ve been dealt but we can turn it around because we are us.

As a generation we are on track to be “the most educated generation to date“ even with this minor setback. We have taken technology, new ideas, and plain raw data and ran with it like no one has before. We are bold. We are communicative. We push boundaries that our parents were afraid to push. We are brave. We are going to get through this but we can’t do it alone. So right now I would encourage you to FaceTime your friends, Snapchat everyone you know to encourage them, call or text those friends you know who don’t have access to the Internet, make more tiktok‘s, go on Instagram and compliment someone, actually read a book because we both know you don’t read the books for English class (Sparknotes does not count), maybe even re-download Facebook and see how your extended family is doing.

There is quite a bit of confusion and unyielding stress wafting in the air of our nation right now but that’s the environment where we thrive.

Only together we will get through this.

So when my children or my grandchildren ask me what I did during my teenage years I will be able to tell them “My generation and me were dealt with the worst cards you could think of and with them made our lives into something extraordinarily wonderful.”