To the Class of 2020

To the Class of 2020,

I get this. In fact, I am in the exact same position as you. I was supposed to walk across the stage this past weekend with all my friends and receive my diploma holder. It was supposed to be a wonderful day.

But that was just my hope. The reality was, Saturday was a little difficult, especially in the beginning. I felt hurt, upset, angry at all of this, and confused.

I’m going to be honest. This semester did not go the way I planned in the slightest. My student teaching was cut short, and a number of other complications happened that I never expected.

My point is, class of 2020, I get it. I’m right in this same boat. And I want to tell you that it is okay. It is okay to feel angry, upset, hurt, confused, or even apathetic about life right now.

My state is beginning to open up, and my university has laid out a tentative plan to host a graduation in the summer. I know many places has done a virtual graduation or are doing it later on. And that’s just college.

I can’t even begin to imagine what this is like for high schoolers. But you are just as entitled to feel the same emotions I was describing. Your senior year was ripped from you. If I’m honest, I wouldn’t go back to being in high school, but I did have a lot of good memories my senior year. You may not get that chance now.

Again, I want you to know that it is completely okay to feel the emotions that you are feeling, regardless of your position. I’m not even gonna go into the people who are working from home, essential workers, or those that have become unemployed or furloughed. No offense, but today I just want to focus on the students.

In all of this, I want you to know that I am proud of you, class of 2020. We’re finishing it out while many of us have senioritis. We want to start the rest of our lives. But we’re being deprived of many of the things we wanted to enjoy. And on the other hand, because we were gypped of the training and instruction that we need, we feel unprepared heading for whatever the future holds. My friends and I in my class were talking about how we still feel unprepared to teach.

All this means is that we, class of 2020, have a better handle on how to be prepared for things and to adapt to situations. Yes, we might have to work harder for some things, but hopefully, people are understanding and are willing to work with us. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but we’ll get there in the end.

I know I’m not alone when I say that this coronavirus wrecked my semester plan. And I want to say, class of 2020, that it’s okay. The important thing I want you to know is to be proud of who you are. Let this experience shape you, but in no way let it diminish the work you have done. Be proud of your degree as you finish out your year. You’ve worked hard for it and have had to overcome a decent amount to get there. So hold your head up. Yes, feel upset about the missed opportunities, but look for new ways to celebrate as well. After all, regardless of the circumstances, you still earned your degree and deserve to celebrate!

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