I am officially naming this school year Senior Year Interrupted. With all that is happening in the world right now senior year is the last thing anyone should be worried about, right? I wish I could agree with you, but I don’t.
When you have a senior in high school in your house you worry about senior year like it’s your own. Now with Covid-19 rearing its ugly head your worry multiplies. I already had the typical worries: what college will she pick, will she go to college, will she want to take a gap year, will she really chose to study abroad… The list goes on, and now added to the worry list is wondering about the closures and delays due to Covid-19 and how will those affect senior year. This is definitely Senior Year Interrupted.
Our Senior Year Interrupted began with our college visit being canceled because the college we were going to learn more about decided early to close campus and advised we stay home. We were sad because we were looking forward to a fun mother daughter trip, as well as excited to visit a college we heard so many good things about. We now have no idea when we will be able to visit, and this week Syd received an email from that college asking her if she was committing to them. Talk about pressure!
Our daughter, Syd, goes to a collegiate high school. Although she is technically still in high school, she is taking classes at a college working toward her high school diploma and AA at the same time. As we heard of other college closures and then found out her brothers’ college had already made the decision to convert all classes to online, she was still waiting to hear what was going to happen with the rest of her senior year. All we knew is her campus would be closed for one week after spring break ended.
Decisions that were made regarding “normal” school closings were made during her spring break. Which means all of the “normal” school districts around us were announcing delays and closings however her college was still debating on whether or not to close; and how to handle all classes online. One of her professors mentioned the possibility before spring break but assured the class they would know “soon”. What the heck does SOON mean anyway? Two days? Two weeks? It felt like months, but it was really about a week before we found out her classes would also be moved to online only.
This truly is Senior Year Interrupted. It was just a few days later we received an email from the Principal of her school that prom was canceled. Senior Prom has been canceled! Now I know this is not the end of the world for a lot of people but having your senior year canceled without a chance of rescheduling is hard for these seniors that have worked so hard to stay in this school and accomplish what they have. They deserve that celebration!
I read on the inter-webs recently about how someone was sad that students had to go through what I’m describing, and the reply was: in 1964-70 many kids took their senior trip to Vietnam… Yes, that is tragic and everyone one of those seniors who served deserves recognition and admiration. They also were able to finish their school year. Before those young men were drafted, they went to prom and walked the stage for graduation. They were able to celebrate their senior year of high school.
The high school seniors of 2020 have had their end of senior year celebrations taken away from them due to Covid-19. This means they are grieving a loss of something they have worked for all of their lives.
When high school seniors express sadness or disappointment that there will be no proms, no graduation ceremonies, no gathering of friends for the final weeks of senior year, or no senior trips; please allow them that sadness. Allow them to grieve the loss and that it’s ok to be sad. Listen to them talk about how they feel and let them know all those feelings are normal. Soon they will be looking forward to their next adventure whether it be college, military, gap year or right into working full time. For now – give them time to grieve their loss.
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