Dear Class of 2020:
It’s not supposed to be this way.
As you head into spring of your senior year, you’re supposed to be preparing for prom with your friends, maybe finally going with that longtime crush. You’re supposed to finally be taking your turn in the spotlight on the school musical stage or in the track stadium. You’ve probably already paid your deposit for the senior trip.
And now, that’s all gone.
It’s not supposed to be this way, seniors, but it is.
COVID-19 has robbed you of one of the greatest seasons of your young life. And oh, how I feel for you!
I’ve cried tears over you, class of 2020. You’re about to step into adulthood and it’s like someone took the last three steps from the top of the staircase. Now there’s a huge gaping hole between the step you were on and the platform you’re going to.
The missing steps were fun, and they were huge. Their absence is, perhaps even greater than their physical presence. But still, as you look at the weird world around you right now, you can tell: you’re going to be expected to make the leap.
And that’s scary. And it’s not right.
And it’s reality.
My advice for you, seniors? For a little while, maybe even a few days, turn your back to the chasm.
Go back down a step, to where it’s a little safer, and sit there. Dwell in your childhood for a hot second, and let yourself feel. Feel the grief, feel the unfairness, and feel the incredulity of it all. Like, what is even happening right now?? Feel it. Process it. Embrace it. Something has been taken from you, and you need to be allowed to own that.
And then, my loves, for I do love you all, do what only you can do: turn back around and climb the steps again. Face the chasm, and face this truth: this pandemic, and this loss, cannot take away your purpose. It cannot take away who you were created to be and what you were created to do. And if there is any group of multi-talented, resourceful, intelligent, caring, persistent, strong individuals who can take something horrible and bring good and light and determination out of it, I know it is you.
So when you’re ready, hold your breath, bend your knees, and take the leap forward.
Jump the abyss that contains all that is lost, and land steady on the platform of what’s next.
There are things that will need to be rebuilt better and stronger when this pandemic is over, and you, my seniors, may be on the cusp of adulthood to be the ones who do it.
I know you were put here for such a time as this. And I believe in you.