Back Centre, Lunenburg
Grad 2020. That has a nice ring to it. I’ve been told that it will be a great year to graduate since I started high school, and in my mind it still is. Friday, March 13, 2020, I left math class so antsy to get out and hop on that plane down south. Little did I know that was the last time I would walk those halls as a grade 12 student. The last 4 months of high school are said to be the best and most precious months. I, as a 2020 graduate, wouldn’t know. That is now something I actually laugh at and here’s why. During quarantine, I gained time with my parents that I may never get again. I adapted to new normals quickly and I learned valuable life lessons.
In the beginning, I was mad. I was mad that I was losing time with people I may never see again, I was mad that rights of passage as a grade 12 student were cancelled. I was mad that my grade 12 year was ruined by a virus. But what good comes from being mad? Nothing. Instead, I found the positivity it brought me.
Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment and it was recognized by very many people. I get to say that I had a video speech played at my graduation dedicated to 2020 grads by Justin Trudeau, and Bernadette Jordan. I have letters I get to keep written by Zach Churchill, Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Suzanne Lohnes-Croft and Stephan McNeil dedicated to 2020 grads giving congratulations and best wishes. I was even given virtual graduation speeches featuring Barak Obama, Kevin Hart, LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey, that’s just a few of the amazing stars honouring 2020 graduates. Not many previously graduated classes can say the same and for that, I am thankful.
Although graduating during a global pandemic wasn’t ideal, in the end, it truly wasn’t that bad. As a 2020 grad, I’m walking away from high school not only knowing how to solve for X but also with more patience, maturity and appreciativeness. A better perspective on the world and how little you really need to survive and to be happy. I’m walking away with a never seen before graduation and prom ceremony that was live-streamed and watched by many people in the community whose hearts were saddened for us. I am walking away being able to adapt quickly to new changes and lifestyles, with many people congratulating me on this huge accomplishment through tough and uncertain times. I am taking this learning curve and using the strength it has given me and putting kindness back into the world. I have confidence that my fellow classmates and our generation will be more open-minded, will see the good in any situation and encourage others not to take things for granted. A lot has been taken away from my graduating year but that does not define me and what I have and will continue to accomplish.
As a graduate in 2020, I have one word to describe my this school year: unpredictable. The other twelve years of my education always had one constant, something that made sure every year of school was the same, which was completely thrown out the window as of March. This was the brick and mortar classroom setting. Senior year felt different and exciting, and in September I was overjoyed to experience all it had to offer. I began the year curious about the possibilities the year held, and I end the year with a different perspective on loss and adversity.
If I was not superstitious enough in the past, Friday, March 13th proved itself to be an unlucky day this time around. It was my last day of high school, and I never knew that it would be the last time some of us would see each other. I spent that day cracking jokes, hoping maybe our March Break would be a bit longer than usual thanks to COVID-19, and collecting the work I would need to complete over the one-week break. Needless to say, this has been the longest March Break I have ever had, and it has been a lot less eventful than I might have guessed a four-month break to be. By the end of March, I found myself taking online courses and utilizing poor time management. The lack of scheduling proved difficult for many of us. Weeks flew by without anyone noticing, and Google Classroom deadlines crept up on us when we had not been paying attention. It felt as if March and April appeared and left in one week rather than eight, and the disbelief of the tragedy faced globally and locally kept me numb to the possible idea that my graduating year may not ever return to what I expected it to be.
Through all of this though, the connectivity of the internet has been a mental health safe haven to ‘escape’ the confines of our homes. While I may not have been able to physically visit my friends, I was always able to know how everyone was doing through posts and story updates. FaceTime’s usage on my phone increased drastically in comparison to before the lockdown, and the calls with my friends became my main source of entertainment, spending hours chatting to distract ourselves from what was happening on Twitter’s explore page.
Through all of this, I have finished out my year with many memories that would not have been made without the lockdown. The class of 2020 has always been unique, and now we have had the unique graduation year to follow suit. None of this has been particularly easy, but as a class and a generation we have banded together online to create great social upheaval and have found a sense of togetherness in facing the loss of our classic graduation year together.
We have learned that the class of 2020 is resilient, and we will continue to learn from our experiences.
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