What Comes Next? An Ode to 2020 Seniors in the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020. The year of so many lasts for fellow seniors, and yet, here we are facing something for the very first time. We’re facing the fact that our very last prom may be taken away from us, our very last school theatre production is being canceled, our last opportunity to medal at state track is gone, and our very last time to make those impacting memories is being taken away. And ultimately, we’re facing the fact that graduation may not even occur at all.

2020. This was supposed to be our year. Instead, we’re now sitting at home wondering what comes next for the Coronavirus, COVID-19. In this time of worry, sadness, and anxiety, I’d like to talk directly to my fellow seniors.

What comes next is truly an unknown area. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to be nervous. It’s even okay to be a little angry, but do not let this ruin the time that we still have left. Restrictions may be in place, but there are still ways we can remember the final lasts.

Remember in preschool when we choose the ‘When I grow up I want to be a, fill in the blank’? And remember when in Kindergarten we got to have three recesses, two naps, and a movie with snack time (something I know I wished still occurred in high school!)? And remember when in first grade we learned basic math multiplication by playing bubblegum math!? And all throughout second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and even seventh or eighth grade, we have those significant moments we all cherish, because those were all lasts as well. Take, for example, the time in middle school, where crushes were finally a ‘real thing’ and our first dances were so awkward, maintaining a distance of at least one arm length away!

Then, we finally made it to high school. Where the countdown to 2020 was getting real. We experienced dances like homecoming and prom, getting our first car and being able to have the freedom of driving, the first high school football and basketball game as an actual participant, the stress of high school finals, dance marathon, the Spanish club, FBLA, FFA, FCA, speech groups, high school theatre productions, etc. We shaped the next four years of our life, making the most of it by being as involved as we could and making those moments count. We even got jobs to become ‘responsible adults’ to receive more freedoms and to be prepared for what came next. But, here we are with perhaps more of those last times being taken away and not knowing what does indeed come next. Despite this fact, we have made it. We started at the bottom and rose to the top and now, we are here, in 2020, as the graduating class.

Favorite High School Memories.

What we’ve been able to accomplish is great and we should be nothing but proud. As we’ve faced the lasts of so many things these past years, we’re also facing new challenges, COVID-19 being just one. In the coming months alone we will face some of the hardest challenges yet: leaving the safe place we have come to know for almost all our lives, saying goodbye to the friends and family we have surrounded ourselves with for so long, having more financial responsibilities, and more. With that in mind, do not let the Coronavirus be the final way to remember what the class of 2020 has accomplished. From one senior to another, just know we are truly all in this together and we will be okay. In the meantime, feel free to sit back, catch up on some well needed rest, read a great book, and don’t forget to breathe. 2020 is still our year.

About the Author: Laura Richards

A senior in high school, Laura Richards is from a small town in Iowa. Laura grew up in Elvira, Iowa outside of Clinton being the youngest of three children. Laura intends to pursue a degree in Spanish, Foreign Language and Literature at the University of Iowa starting in the fall of 2020. During her high school career, she participated in band, musicals, plays, large group and individual speech, swing choir, prom committee, SADD, FBLA, and NHS. When she’s not at work or school, her favorite hobbies include: cuddles with her dog and cat, listening to music and jamming out, watching The Office or That 70’s Show, going out to a local coffee shop, and shopping!

Side note: Laura is also my youngest sister. This year, and years past, I have watched her grow as an individual and become a strong willed, passionate, beautiful young woman. Earlier in the fall, I had the opportunity to surprise her for the school’s musical production. I could not be more proud of her. I know right now she and so many of her friends are struggling, coping with the thought of missing out on so many memories, but during the pandemic everyone is in it together. All the seniors, college and high school, all educators and students worldwide are feeling the effects of the pandemic. It is important to keep in mind that whatever comes next, we are all in it together.


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