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Here's how it *really* feels to graduate in 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020 was my official last day of senior year. At the time, I thought it would be a normal half day: I would come home at 12:15, finish my homework, have a normal weekend and go back to school on Monday. To my surprise, this day would be my last at Eastern Regional High School. 

After a tough junior year, I was excited to experience the luxuries of being a senior—coming to school late with a coffee in hand, getting spoiled on senior day, going to senior trip and prom, signing my last yearbooks and *especially* graduating and officially moving on from high school. I definitely came to school late a couple times, but I didn't get a chance to do the rest. The best parts of senior year were right around the corner, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic—they were taken away in an instant and replaced by online school. 

The switch to online school wasn't as difficult as I initally thought it would be. Each student in my grade has an iPad issued from the school, so we were all used to using Google Classroom and completing assignments online. However, our block schedule no longer made sense for the format, so we had to adjust to a new schedule. Classes were changed to be an hour long, teachers gave more work than ever and AP preparation was rushed and felt pointless.

I decided that the stress wasn't worth it, and cancelled my AP tests and started doing less schoolwork. My grades mattered less than ever on the new pass/fail grading system, so trying in school was the least of my worries. What were the administrators going to do, kick me out of virtual class? Online school (aka pointless busy work) left me overwhelmed, stressed and not on my normal sleep schedule, so I accidentally slept through classes. I had to deal with feeling worried about coronavirus, missing out on events I had looked forward to for years and now a whole new school system—*so* not fair.

But those feelings didn't last forever. Overtime, I cared less and less about what I was "missing". Since I never really liked high school, it wasn't all that bad. I didn't have to talk to my classmates, sit in a 99 degree classroom without air conditioning or take a 4 hour Spanish exam. Graduation was the one thing I was upset about missing, but to be honest, an IRL graduation didn't feel appropriate to end a semester of online school with barely any learning. In the grand scheme of things, high school graduation is not the most important milestone of your life anyway. 

This is not how I envisioned my senior year ending, but I'm happy with this ending. I am grateful that I was able to make 3.5 years of memories, and now I am ready to move on and attend American University in the fall. The pandemic may have changed my senior year, but I know there are many more important, fun and celebratory moments to come. 

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by Laura Frantz | 7/2/2020
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