Senior Year Graduation Poisoned By Coronavirus Guest Blog by Olivia Krenzien
The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to an awful part of history still in the making. It was March 10th, 2020 when I found out the Coronavirus had hit New Jersey; I was at the hospital where I interned when I was told it was not a safe working environment to continue my internship.
I felt confused and angry because I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but I sure did underestimate it.
Today, it seems like this pandemic is only getting worse. Everything is closed, school is now online, social distancing is in place, no one is working, and everyone is going crazy, or so it seems.
Teenagers confined to their homes during this coronavirus crisis is a challenge. Like me teens, want to be out with their friends, playing softball with their school team, and learning in the classroom.
It has been an adjustment
While it has been an adjustment for all of my peers, it hits harder for those of the senior class. I start off my day by waking up to join my English class on zoom calls, the only interaction we get with our peers while being isolated. We look at a computer screen for hours until our eyes burn and our heads ache.
I think the biggest adjustment for me is the routine. For someone with anxiety, it can be stressful trying to change something you’ve gotten into the habit of doing for months. When I was in school, I barely had time for myself, I was in a constant routine. I would go to school, go to my internship, eat, go to practice, do my homework, shower, go to bed. Every day.
Obviously, this has affected my mental health, along with many other teenagers. On the other hand, this social distancing has given me the opportunity to work on myself and be at home with my family, which I do not get to do often.
We are told the future is unknown, we are supposed to wait it out and act like everything will be okay and go back to normal.
I was told I might not get to graduation; they might just hand out diplomas, we might never get to walk the stage, or wear our cap and gowns. We are confused and anxious, wondering if the work we are doing now at home will credit towards graduation.
In just a matter of days, we have lost what should have been the most exciting parts of our high school career. We have lost senior prank day, trips, prom, and we can never go back to being a normal high school student.
Senior athletes had to say goodbye to their team and coaches, which for me, is a real heartbreak. We have lost so much and there is nothing we can do about it, there is so much uncertainty with so few answers.
The new reality
All we can do is hope and pray that this pandemic will be controlled, and we can go back to our normal lives.
It’s funny because my friends and I always joked we had senioritis, and that we could not wait to graduate. It is so surreal, we used to think about the future and think about where we would be in life, and now we don’t even know what tomorrow will bring.
I hope the younger peers will never take advantage of school like some of the seniors did, because all we want now is to go back to school. So, enjoy these last days, because you will remember this time in your life forever.
I never thought I would miss school as much as I do, everyone told me high school years would be over like a blink of an eye. But no senior wanted their last year to end so early, it has already been a month without seeing my friends, peers, favorite teachers, and the home of my school.
We are part of history, and one day I am going to tell my kids my high school years were cut short, and I hope my kids will grow up to love school as I did. We thought we were ready to start a new reality when handed that diploma, but we truly aren’t ready to start adulthood.
We aren’t ready to say goodbye to all the memories, (good and bad), the friends we have made since elementary school and the tiger pride we had for our school. Even though highschool might have been cut short, there are more memories to cherish beyond these years.
Thank you Debbie Hudson & John Cooke for acknowledging my daughter Olivia Krenzien. She’s worked so hard!!!
Mary Lynn Krenzien
Olivia, so eloquent. You could be a writer.
Thank you for sharing with us what it’s like to be a high school student in these times. What you wrote was very moving.
Yes, these are not normal times. You should not have to live through this.
Living through coronavirus has been relatively easy for me, so far. For you it is tremendously disruptive. You _are_ being robbed of a particular time in your life, at least the way it should have been.
Sometimes this happens in life, either due to large external circumstances, or more commonly, personal and family circumstances. I wish your generation the strength to be resilient, and even to grow, in the face of this. But, a burden, and a “theft,” it surely is.
What a sad time it is for our Class of 2020 students. You’ve beautifully described the losses, the rites of passage and those final, precious moments with your classmates. Your teachers are also feeling the loss. Springtime, Senior year is when teachers who recognize your achievements and capabilities can ‘drop the reins’ a bit and see you blossom (or heaven forbid, flounder). They are missing that magic moment when their efforts and your persistence/struggles/celebrations and disappointments have created the end of your LCMR days and the beginning of your new life. This is not what anyone of us could have imagined.
I am thrilled to see that you are entering Nursing and believe that you will truly excel. I remember you as a kind, thoughtful, perceptive girl with a beautiful smile. If I can be of any help in your studies, please don’t hesitate to find me. Congratulations! Nurse Ginny @ Maud Abrams.
You express your feelings so well. Sharing them is important.
I am deeply saddened by what the virus has brought upon seniors in high school. Unfortunately, you are learning a life lesson early. Times will never be predictable going forward. Every profession will have changes. Education requirements will change.
Your underclass (men) people may have a different experience than even you thought this should have been. You will find that you often travel a path alone. My very best wishes for you. Make good choices.