Wilton Warrior Words: Seniors, I am sorry
After graduation, life is meant to be uncertain. Sure, we decide on a college to attend, choose a residence hall, and select our first-semester classes, but there is always some level of mystery shrouding the future. For seniors graduating during a global pandemic, however, this uncertainty has permeated every aspect of our lives, and even the little shred of confidence we are granted after our high school departure has been stripped away, leaving me, and the rest of my class, to live every day in ambiguity.
I was told to savor my last day of high school. Instead, I came home after a half-day happy to be let out early, unaware that I would never get to say a proper goodbye to my friends and teachers. I resent my eagerness to get home that day, because if I had known how significant it was, I would have taken the extra time to soak in what remained of my high school career. I know that once Wilton High School inevitably reopens I will hopefully return and visit those I was unable to bid properly farewell, but I would give anything to walk the halls of WHS one last time, not as a returning alumni, but as a student.
I was told to look forward to graduation. Instead, I dread the arrival of June 13, knowing that the graduation I was promised will be replaced by some alternative ceremony. Although the school administration is doing everything in their power to celebrate the class of 2020, I can’t help but feel forgotten. Our families, peers, alumni, even movies have built up this moment for years, and to be deprived of this tradition seems almost unreal. For years, I have dreamt of strolling across the graduation stage to receive my diploma in front of my family and classmates, but, even in May, the status of our upcoming ceremony remains unknown.
I was told that I would be invincible the summer after senior year. Instead, I am uncertain if there will even be one. Even for those exceptionally eager to escape their hometown and attend university, this is the time to cherish the people and places you will soon leave behind. I was promised this would be my time. I would get to be a teenager before I was sent off to be an adult. I would get to spend time with my friends. I would make memories and take pictures and look back fondly on the last four years of my life. Now, I can’t help but feel envious of my past self, assured that she would get to leave Wilton after a proper goodbye.
I think I speak for the rest of the class of 2020 when I say that this year has been a disappointment, but I also believe that it is OK to feel unlucky so long as we recognize that this pandemic is much bigger than we are. I am comforted by the knowledge that an entire class of students across the world is experiencing my same disillusionment, and I am grateful for the health of my family. For now, I give myself permission to feel unhappy, and as frustrated as I may be, staying home and staying safe is the only way to protect the people and the town I love. My heart goes out to all my fellow seniors. We were told we had time.
Niamh McCarthy is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with three classmates.