Monday, August 10, 2020

The Class of 2020 is Still Suffering

Today is my first day of law school (hence, the business casual outfit).
I am excited, my lifelong dream is coming true. In three short years I will finally be able to strut down the streets of Manhattan in my heels and lady suit.
I’m nervous. It’s a new school, new people, a new dynamic; I am a grad student now, living at home and commuting.
But I’m not as excited as I should be.

I am extremely sad because I am supposed to be starting this new exciting journey and here, I am still feeling like I never finished undergrad.
I never walked across the stage. I never got to say goodbye to my professors or my friends. I didn’t get to hug anyone. Or tell them how much I loved them or how much they helped me. I never got to say thank you. I never got to do a lot of things I wanted to do.
I never got to have any last classes or last moments or anything.

I’m really struggling with starting this new phase in my life without feeling like I finished the last one.

I know so many people, my classmates, other class of 2020 grads are all feeling the same way.
It’s really hard. I am never going to be able to get that time back.

I am procrastinating setting up my Wake alumni email account because I don’t want to think that my time at Wake is over. I can hardly look at my diploma, or even take it out of its manilla envelope and put it in its $250 diploma frame.

I feel like I’m living in a horrible dream right now and I can’t wait to wake up.
I feel like this current situation made us all grow up too fast and stripped the rest of our childhoods away.

I’m tentatively supposed to walk across the stage in October, but I don’t think that’s happening, as new cases are popping up every day.

I feel horrible for my friends that are going to be seniors or my friends that are going to be freshmen in college. This is not what anyone imagined their senior or freshman years would be like.
My heart goes out to them because they are going to suffer, but the class of 2020 is still suffering.

Yes, we will eventually walk the stage, hopefully in May, and yes, I’m sure we will be thrown parties and celebrations on campus, but until then, or maybe not ever, will I ever have closure.
Part of my heart was broken and taken away, never to be healed again, by COVID. Part of my life was stripped away, and I can never go back.

I grieved for months when I got home as I did online classes and before I graduated virtually.
But I am still grieving now.
We were all just forced to accept what was happening: pandemic, online classes and a virtual graduation.

It is so easy to say, “well we graduated virtually, so look to the future and Wake will always be there, it’s time to move on.”
But I am really hurting and sad because now I have to move on whether I like it or not.

I was terrified of leaving high school and going to college. I was so sad, I cried for days. I was scared too.

But this feels like a different transition. In high school, I was ready and willing. I felt like it was my time to go on to bigger and better things. I was tired of my hometown. And although I felt I was ready to move on from Wake, I didn’t get to do it on my own terms, when it was supposed to happen, at graduation. Rather, I was forced to move on without a choice.

My last year at Wake was fun and exciting but ending so abruptly sickened me. It put a really bad taste in my mouth for how I now look at my senior year of college.

I wish COVID never happened. I wish no one ever died from this horrible virus. I wish my classmates and all the rest of class of 2020 all over the world were able to finish their senior years like every other class. I wish the incoming seniors and freshmen could have normal years. I wish that all the brides and grooms could’ve been married like they planned. I wish that all the babies being born were able to be welcomed with families close by. I wish for my friends to all have jobs and happy and healthy lives.
I wish I could have two more months of college with my friends on campus.

I also wish that I could’ve graduated and been happy at my graduation for all that I had accomplished. Instead, I was sad.

I wish to have closure and move on. I wish to not be in pain anymore when I think of my alma matter and how sad I was that I couldn’t finish in person.

I hope that when I do return to Wake and walk across the stage, I will be able to feel relief, closure and happiness. I hope that all the fond memories of my time there will finally wash away the pain I am currently feeling.


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