Class of 2021 feels the loss of a traditional senior year

By Natalie Luna

It is nearing the end of the calendar year, and by the looks of it, it seems like we are far from seeing the end of this pandemic that took over and ruined 2020. Every day, we still see thousands of cases rising because many people are failing to comply with safety measures. While some stay home, many others are still gathering with family and friends, still more gather unmasked. Although it seems as though things are back to normal, we are still not back on campus, cases keep rising, and by the looks of it, the virus might very well steal the class of 2021’s entire senior year. 

We were supposed to go back to school in August, walking a little taller because it was our last year of being a kid. Twelve years of all of our hard work were finally going to be recognized. Now, the 2021 seniors might not even experience a regular senior year at all. We were never able to experience our “last first” day. We probably won’t get to have those nostalgic feelings sitting in class, staring at the whiteboard knowing that next year we will be in a whole different school, a whole different classroom, in a room full of faces we don’t even know yet, etc. And in a bittersweet way, we were supposed to enjoy and savor every minute of it; after all, we waited four years for this. Many of us envy the classes that experienced a real senior year, leaving us feeling bitter rather than bittersweet. 

The class of 2021 will likely have no sports, college tours, or homecoming. Will we ever get to go to a prom with our friends? Will we have a traditional graduation ceremony? 

We are missing out on what is supposed to be the “best time” of our high school experience. All we will have to share is how we stayed in our house for months straight, and constantly dreading waking up to repetitive days. It seems as though every senior is going through the period where we feel as if we are really working towards nothing, just a piece of paper, with no reward in return.

Even if we were to return to our campus for in-person classes, it would be different and divided. We would have to come in on different days, wear masks, and stay distanced. We, along with our teachers, would also be in constant fear of the threat of the virus eventually spreading. Essentially, we would still feel like we were spending our senior year alone, even if we were on campus.

Seniors are struggling in varying ways, from trying to find motivation with learning online and not being in a classroom, to deeply missing seeing our friends and teachers everyday. This is our last year before we all go on our own paths. Some of us will probably stay close to home, but others may go to a whole different state for college. Now it feels like we will not get that final year with our friends to make regular senior memories we can look back on in our yearbook as we work through the first year of college and even beyond. 

However, in an odd way, the pandemic has made our senior community stronger. We are all going through the hardship together of wondering if we will ever be able to step foot on our high school campus again. We all now realize the privilege it is to physically graduate high school. For whatever it’s worth, we are all rooting for each other in a way that we haven’t seen before.

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