Theo, 18

I still don’t fully feel like I’ve graduated high school, even though I got a free dozen Krispy Kreme donuts for that specific accomplishment. Although I didn’t get the exact closure that I was expecting, I have spent a lot of this time thinking about the value of my high school experience. I have been spending every night over Zoom playing games and reminiscing with my close friends. And even though we have been apart for the last few months of our lives, I feel like this experience will bring our grade closer together. We certainly won’t forget our graduation.

I am certainly sad that this was the way that my high school experience ended, but I am not complaining. There are people dying every day, from Corona Virus or police brutality, and it feels like many people have focused on the hardships of the class of 2020. It makes me feel a little weird because what I’ve had to do is nothing close to the struggles of those facing serious problems. That’s why I feel somewhat of a disconnect when Obama gives an address for all high schoolers, to make us feel better for all that we have lost.

The television addresses have made me feel sad, as have many of the celebrations my school or my family have organized to celebrate the class of 2020. I imagine I would be just as sad at an in-person graduation, if not more so because it is such a definitive end to such a big part of all of our lives. While in quarantine, I have been able to ignore the end of high school for almost the entire time. I have been enjoying every individual day in quarantine, learning how to cook and drive, spending a lot of time reading or watching classic movies, so I can avoid the thought that each day I spend in isolation is a day less that I spend with those who a few months ago I saw walking down the halls, or the teachers who have shaped me.

The silver lining for me was the time I got to spend with my family--time that I wouldn’t have taken advantage of otherwise. We spent days puzzling, and playing board games, and started watching a family show. This is time that I would not have taken advantage of if there wasn’t a global pandemic, and I am very thankful for it because for the next four years I won’t be around them all the time.

While the end of high school has been disappointing, there have been many silver linings that I have chosen to spend most of my time focusing on. I have no power to change these circumstances, but I do have the power to control my attitude.

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