Senior Year Sadness


Makayla Huerta

As summer approaches, the Class of 2021 watches their senior year — mostly spent online and activity-free — pass by.

The second I roll out of bed I go straight to my desk where I sit in front of my Chromebook for six hours. I sit alone at my kitchen table during lunch, mindlessly scrolling through my phone to try distract myself. By the end of the school day, my eyes are exhausted, my back is sore, and my motivation plummets.

This five-days-a-week routine is quite the contrast to the “perfect” senior year that I envisioned when I was a freshman. I imagined a typical Wildcat experience — MORP dances in the cafeteria, performing with Drill Team at Friday night football games, raucous rallies in the gym, senior dress-up days, and free pizza during lunch. Senior year was to be the peak of my adolescence and the last breath of freedom before I entered the “real world” of college and a career. 

The thrill of Friday night football games with the marching band blasting pep tunes was replaced by the relief of not having to stare at a screen for the weekend.

This illusion of a perfect senior year was ripped away from millions of seniors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nightmare began when the BOHS class of 2020 lost the final three months of their senior years. No prom, no senior breakfast, no Grad Night. But what hurt the most was not walking in cap and gown and cords and tassels in Wildcat Stadium to accept a diploma in front of cheering friends and family members. 

It was then that I asked: “Is this what my graduation will look like too?”

My fear was somewhat lessened when witnessing the love and support the seniors of 2020 received on social media; even news outlets were covering the “Class of 2020” and celebrating their strength for pushing through these unique and difficult times. So even if my graduating class — the Class of 2021 — met the same fate of cancelled traditions and muted celebrations, at least we would get that support too, right?  


We didn’t get to enjoy a Fancy First Day, and instead, most of us sat in our rooms, still in our pajamas, half-heartedly joining Zoom session after Zoom session. The thrill of Friday night football games with the marching band blasting pep tunes was replaced by the relief of not having to stare at a screen for the weekend. No Toga Day, no spirited rallies, no locker room huddles after the last games of the season.

I have been battling these emotions for months. It felt almost selfish to desire such relatively insignificant events during this time of crisis. 500,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19 and here I am, a healthy teenager, complaining about senior-year traditions. But I did discover that I’m not alone, that other seniors also came to this conclusion: The reason we are not receiving the same sympathy as the Class of 2020 is because this is the New Normal.” 

The pandemic has been going on for nearly a year. Online school, quarantine, lockdowns, and all of the ugly that has come with the pandemic is no longer a new concept, but rather, it’s our new way of life. We don’t congratulate people for showing up to work or for going to the grocery store, so why should we congratulate the seniors for going to school? 

This year’s seniors have already lost so much and we still have more to lose. It’s draining to wake up everyday and sit in front of a screen as I look back on the routine and emptiness of the first semester. It’s scary not knowing whether we will get a proper graduation with “pomp and circumstance” by the end of the year. It’s heartbreaking to live in this new normal when not so long ago we were expecting 2021 to be the best year of our young lives.