Senior Year: Lost in Quarantine

While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in the United States, seniors all over the country are finding themselves

Photo Credit: Teri Fairchild
Bianca in her cap and gown.

lost and feeling forgotten. Our senior year was taken away from us in a few days in Idaho. We went to school on Friday expecting to come back next week, have graduation, excitedly talking about prom, and we will likely never step foot in the school again. 

I have definitely been mourning my last year in high school for weeks, I still can’t talk about it without getting choked up. Our newspaper was supposed to publish a climate change issue in April that we’ve been discussing all year that won’t happen, the publication of our senior magazine is now significantly more complicated than it already was, our yearly mural may not happen, and I left a bunch of my belongings at school that still need to be collected. On my last day at school, I put my graduation announcements in my backpack to bring to friends and teachers on the following Monday, but I went into quarantine that weekend. I am now having to mail my announcements to all those people, or plan on giving them to them later this year. 

Everything I’ve planned for my senior year is in question. I’ve already purchased the dresses I was supposed to wear to prom and graduation; they are currently sitting untouched in my closet. I never actually received my cap and gown, despite paying for them months ago. The uncertainty of the situation is really what hurts the most. Each day it feels like more bad news is broken to us as the pandemic continues to worsen. 

When I talk about all of this with people or online, I often receive a message from at least one person who finds my pain offensive. Specifically, I had someone tell me “People are dying, Bianca.” To be clear, I’m aware people are dying, I’m terrified of all of this too. This has easily been a very traumatic and painful quarantine for everybody. Of course others have worse circumstances than me right now; no matter what you’re going through there will always be someone who has it worse than you. Some people have lost family members, canceled their wedding, missed concerts, lost their jobs, can’t find toilet paper, and much more. 

I’m not saying I have it worse than everyone else, it’s really just that me and the rest of the class of 2020 feel like we were cheated out of what’s supposed to be the funnest year of high school, and we feel like we have been cut short. After this, we’re supposed to be adults. We’re supposed to move away to college, many kids in this area are going to go on missions or start their careers or build a family, and we may never get our final celebrations of childhood that literally everyone in the last several generations have received. So it’s unfair. 

But we also know quarantine is necessary. I want people to stay home; as a matter of fact, I started quarantine almost two weeks before the official stay at home order was issued. But I still cry when I leave Zoom meetings with my classmates because I miss them, I still feel stressed thinking about when I’ll be able to leave my house again, and I still struggle to understand how serious and scary all of this is. I’ve been feeling frustrated with my school work much easier recently, and I just realized it’s because I just don’t want to be doing the work at home; I want my teachers, my classmates, the nasty desks, the boring lessons, all of it. I’m still a kid after all. This has been probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.

I keep finding myself frantically trying to figure out how all of this is going to end. I have emailed the principal asking if they’ve made a decision about graduation, I continue to ask my teachers every time I talk to them if they know anything, I check the numbers of COVID-19 patients in the state of Idaho everyday, and I try to imagine what this will be like when it’s over. But I can’t predict the future, no one can. I won’t know how this ends until it does. 

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that coronavirus fear and quarantine has taken a toll on my mental health. I have been extremely anxious, overly bored, and exceptionally depressed. Some days I have to keep myself constantly distracted so I don’t cry, but I end up doing it anyways at night. I’ve been avoiding movies about kids in high school, it’s too hard to watch. I tried watching Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I cried at the end because I had to watch the kids in the movie graduate. I keep having to remind myself that I don’t carry the weight of the world, because I continuously focus on trying to solve this for everybody, or trying to angrily ask people to stay home, or just sulk around feeling like I’m holding up everyone while we all hurt during all of this. 

However, a few things have made quarantine easier. I highly recommend keeping in touch with everyone you possibly can. If you have Zoom calls, stay after for a bit and catch up with your classmates. Video chat with people you care about, watch movies with them virtually, or play games. Keep yourself distracted, I promise it helps a lot (thank god for Animal Crossing). Try doing things you haven’t before, like cooking, sewing, exercise, reading, etc. Or just make sure you’re doing things you enjoy. Try practicing gratitude by reminding yourself of things you’re grateful for when you feel down. No matter what, don’t feel pressured to be an upstanding human being and learn a new language or deep clean your entire house. We’re living through a pandemic, not a staycation. This is really hard, just do what you can to make it easier.

Finally, to my fellow seniors, I’m sorry. I miss you guys every day. I know a lot of us miss our teachers and school, even though we never thought that would happen. Find little solutions to each of your problems. If you’re feeling like you’re not going to get to graduate, try to think about college or whatever it is you’re going to do after this. The future is exciting! We get to start our real lives! When I’m sad about prom, my parents and I will talk about how we’re going to have a mini-prom in our basement (sad, but true). Let’s stay together, be strong, and we’ll get through this. Stay in touch, don’t totally isolate yourself. Take care of each other. This will be over soon.