Seeking closure: The pandemic changed me from a teen excited by the prospect of change to one made anxious by it

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Every day in elementary school, I would walk down the block to the house with the tall bushes and wait for my best friend to come out so we could walk to class together. This routine carried on when I got my license. Rushing to her house, half ready in the mornings, to get to homeroom on time. Speeding through intersections and praying we would not hit any of the four street lights between our houses and the Allderdice entrance. 

While those mornings were chaotic and anxiety-ridden, they were a crucial part of my days that I’ve grown to miss as I sit at home staring at a computer screen, only seeing my best friend on FaceTime calls between classes. 

These frantic drives to school were one of the many parts of my day-to-day life that I appreciate now that they are gone. Whether it is just stopping to talk to someone in the hallway or flashing the confused face to your friend across the room, making sure they also have no idea what our AP Physics teacher is talking about.

As a senior in high school, I can talk about all the big things I have lost: prom, a normal graduation, finishing up my classes inside the building I’ve gone to for years, and meeting my senior-year teachers face to face. I think the thing that’s most upsetting about having your senior year canceled due to a pandemic is the loss of the little things that those students will never get back. 

I personally will never have my last rowing regionals; I will never have my last girl scout camping trip; my last first day of high school; my last summer camp as a camper; so on and so forth. I technically had a last of all of those things but for most of them I assumed I’d have one or two more years. 

On top of losing closure in those places of my life that have been so important to me for so many years, school has also become monotonous. 

So much of the routines I have curated over the years of being a high schooler are now gone. No more stopping to get coffee on the way to school even though I definitely don’t have time and no talking to friends at the water fountain before class or in the cafeteria. So much of what made high school what it was to me and others is not there anymore and we are left with lectures and no interaction. 

Areas of many seniors' lives that they thought would be finished this year but would have had more time to move on from were abruptly halted. Instead of being able to say goodbye to the people in your homeroom that you talked to as the morning announcements droned on are now gone from your life before you could come to terms with it. 

It’s March and I’m being asked to decide where I want to spend the next four years of my life and what I want to study, but I will never feel like I concluded the last four.

This feeling of being forced to move on when we don’t feel ready is amplified by that lack of closure.

They’ll never be students in their high school again and see the people they went to school with, walking down the halls. Us seniors will be forced to grow and move on in our future colleges and careers and find ways to come to terms with our adolescence ending without warning.

I wish I were in school, filled with senioritis and ready to graduate. I wish I could spend my afternoons after class inside a coffee shop or at a friend’s house. I wish I had the opportunity to be done with this chapter of my life so I could be more ready to move on like so many other seniors had the opportunity to feel.

But instead of feeling exhausted from high school, I have never wanted to be in my school more. Seniors in the past were burned out from being in school for so long, helping them to be more ready to move on. Senioritis allowed for them to be excited about what the future holds. I think many current seniors haven’t gotten there yet. Because, while I’m getting straight As and doing my homework, things that may be considered “doing well” for online school, I’m not ready. 

Dani Jordan is a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill. If you want to send a message to Dani, email firstperson@publicsource.org.

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