Column: A letter to the Class of 2020: We’ll get through this together (apart)

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Dear Class of 2020,

It’s Day Four of shelter in place, and there’s one thing we thought we’d never agree on: the desperate longing of having one more day of waking up at 6 a.m. to get ready for one more day of school. 

It’s true. Being stuck inside all day is super-depressing. Plus, the rainy and grey weather isn’t helping. It’s like a depression package gifted to you with the absence of a therapist to guide you through it. 

With the agitation of having to stay inside and not hang out with friends, comes the responsibility of knowing that our participation in this quarantine is crucial for the COVID-19 virus to stop spreading at such a rapid pace. We must all band together to protect each other, our parents, siblings, and especially our grandparents. It is hard to process that our lives have changed so much in the past week, but we will eventually come out of this sharing an experience only we can understand. 

And you saw Governor Newson’s tweet too, right? Yeah, the thought of not ever being able to go back to high school has made us all even sadder than we already are. We may have complained about school all the time these past four years, but it’s more about the moments we won’t get to experience. We can’t finish Elimination, attend our senior prom, dress up for “no pants” day, senior ditch day (because you can’t ditch if you’re at home), throwing our papers in the air on our last day of school, and possibly not having a normal grad week and ceremony.

But what really hits different is the small moments we won’t ever get to experience, and the moments we didn’t realize that might have been our last. Like one more day sitting on the Quad at lunch talking to our friends, watching awkward freshman attempt to talk to their crushes during brunch, slightly roasting your Sociology teacher about the way he pronounces your name or rushing to make the last lunch bell so Mr. Blackburn won’t call you out in front of the class. 

With these lost events comes the hard feeling of accepting what we can’t control and being grateful for what we did get to experience. We got to attend one of the best high schools in the state; we got to take part in walkouts and protests pushing for a better world; we allowed restaurants at Town and Country across the street to perpetually drain our wallets every day; and —yes, we know this is a weird thing to celebrate, but it was a shared moment — we will always have losing Spirit Week to the sophomores our junior year to bond us forever. 

Even if we never go back to Paly, and the next time many of us see each other is at our 10-year reunion, at least we will have had a decade to grow into our awkward teen bodies and to turn the lives we portray on social media into a reality. 

Stay strong, 2020, and remember juniors, sophomores, and freshmen: As cheesy and Hallmark movie-esque it sounds, high school really does go by fast, so when your friends ask if you want to go to the basketball game on Friday night or you’re not sure if you should tell the person in your Geometry class you like their shirt, do it. You’ll never know when you’ll have the next opportunity.  

Love,

Gracia and Olivia