This year is nothing like any year in this century, and we're only halfway through. We celebrated on December 31, 2019 hoping for a new start full of new opportunities and dreams. We celebrated not only the end of a whole year, but the end of a decade- a decade of successes and failures. We were looking forward to the start of a decade. Little did we know what was lying ahead. Little did we know of the series of unfortunate events that were going to occur, as if the year constituted of a row of dominos and someone pushed the first domino to initiate a set of reactions. Little did we know about anything or everything. But we knew that we were excited as the past year was coming to an end because we believe that our lives are shaped by years, as if the year is a powerful force that determines the path our lives would take as it comes by and leaves. Not a month into this year and all hell broke loose - a pandemonium of a peculiar type. Nothing like anything millennials and post-millennials have ever seen. The COVID-19 pandemic, although firstly thought to be endemic in China, has affected millions of people physically and mentally and continues to be prevalent, with no absolute control over it. It's spreading at a rate no one could stop, hence, destroying many lives. Everyone is on edge and it seems like our lives are hanging by a thread, and that thread can be cut by anything outside of our control. So many threads have been cut during the past few months which caused so many people to lose their lives. Everyone is expecting to be the next victim of this seemingly unstoppable nightmare. I was a senior in high school when my city decided to shut down schools. As seniors, we had a lot to work for so that we can graduate and go to college; a lot was at stake. We didn't want any of this to happen. When we started the year in September, we were looking forward to our last, bittersweet high school year. We wanted to spend as much time as we can with the people we call our “second family” - the people who watched us grow and helped us along the way. Little did we know that we wouldn't be able to go on our annual school trip, or plant a tree in honor of our class, or even throw our caps in the air altogether to commemorate our class. My school, and a lot of schools around the world, took the approach of online learning. We had to attend online classes in order to prepare for our exams. It took so much energy to open a book, read a page, and solve an exercise. We missed going to school and complaining about waking up early and dragging ourselves to school. We missed venting about classes, exams, and subjects. We missed the activities. We missed seeing our teachers and friends and laughing with them. We missed all that. And you know what the worst part is? We never got to say goodbye. We didn't know that it was the end, but there's only so much we can do. As a graduate of the 2020 high school class, I'm delighted to be a part of it. This class has been through so much and yet stands proud and resilient. We're overjoyed at how far we have come and what we have accomplished, despite all that was going on around us. We witnessed so much and still had the strength to move on. We're all waiting in anticipation for what's to come. We don't want to give up on life when we haven't seen anything yet. We knew there was nothing we could have done to go back to school, but we also knew that this pandemic changed us; it made us more humane and appreciative of life. If we really think about it, we needed such a tragic shock to wake up and stop taking our lives and everyone in it for granted because we don't know when the last time with our beloved ones will be. As the death toll increases, so does my fear. I fear that it's too late to get rid of this virus. We have reached the peak of our technological advancements and continue to thrive every day, yet something too tiny to be seen by the naked eye had reigned the world. But in such unprecedented times, we should put our (gloved) hands together. We ought to take every single safety precaution to decrease the risk of spreading the virus. We need to support the ones around us who are suffering, and most importantly, be kind to each other. This pandemic stole the souls of so many people and there are so many more standing on the frontlines battling this disease to ensure that more people survive than die. We need to show them our gratitude, and nothing shows that more than staying safe. In this way, those heroes will go back to their families sooner rather than later. Every decision we make affects everyone, so it's about time we think more than twice before doing anything. I believe that if we put our minds to it, we can eliminate the virus. If we're on the same page, we can destroy the virus. It's all a matter of whether we have the will to live through this or not. We are in this together, and no one is suffering alone. Just remember that “it's always darkest before the dawn”.