Everyone Has Their Own Battles

“I want you all to know that I am very proud of all of you. I don't want you guys to be scared of what is ahead, but just be cautious of the future.” It was the last block of the day and the teacher was giving us the same spiel that the rest of our teachers had been giving us since we found out today was our last day until April 23. “It's only three weeks,” I thought to myself, “we'll be back once the state says the cases have gone down. Once the curve has flattened.” The last bell of the day rang and I ran across the street for my boyfriend to pick me up. Students were scattered everywhere, trying to get to their busses. Everyone was laughing, joking, cheering. Little did we know what was going to come of this. The news did a good job of scaring us though. Every channel. Every platform. “Covid-19 cases are rising hour by hour.” people were starting to work from home. Schools were closing. College classes were being put online. Nobody would have expected where it was going. A few weeks later, we got an email. The email stated, “Due to the continuously rising cases, we have decided to push back coming back to campus until May 1st. As of right now, Graduation and Prom have been postponed.” Thirteen years of hard work. Thirteen years of studying. Thirteen years. Washed down the drain in just 10 words. These words bounced in everyone's head. Possibly no prom, after my dress was already paid for. Possibly no Graduation, after we had already gotten our gowns and counted down the days. All of our senior activities, memories, and chances, down the drain in just one short email. Later, the school decided it would be best if all classes were canceled for the rest of the year. My senior year was cut extremely short and I was in shambles because of it. Emotions were high. Any time I told anyone that I was upset, I got the same response. “People are dying. Graduation is the least of our worries” People are dying. Losing their jobs. Their homes. I was fortunate to be able to have my boyfriend move in with me, to be able to still see my family, and still have a roof over my head. But I still could not get the thought of Graduation getting canceled out of my head. Proms started getting canceled a while later. Then there were no large gatherings. Then it was Graduations. They were getting canceled left and right. Friends messaging me. Cousins messaging me. All of their schools had abandoned their Graduations. Stores were closing early, only allowing few people in. Masks were to be worn everywhere. Six feet apart. Our new normal was not ideal but we got used to it. We had to. Early July we had our Prom. It was parent sponsored and not very big. But we got a prom. I dressed up, got my hair done, and took amazing pictures with the Love of my Life, my best friends, and my family. The cases were low then. They were lowering and it was seemingly becoming better. Or at least that's what it felt like. About a week later we got confirmation that Graduation was still going to happen. No walking into our seats to “Pomp and Circumstance” like every other year, everyone had to sit six feet apart, only six guests allowed per student, and families were separated from other families. But it was a graduation. One we were not expecting. But what we wanted all along. That was four days ago. It was the best day of my life and I have never been more proud of myself, my boyfriend, and my Senior Class. All of our Class Officers made heartwarming speeches that left us all with tears in our eyes and we all cried as we threw our caps slightly in the air to keep them from cross-contaminating. I can't tell you what they will do with this next year or years to come but I hope that they do not experience the heartbreak, pain, and suffering we had to. Wear a mask, keep your distance, and don't judge others. Everyone has their own battles.

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