What it feels like to have prom stolen by coronavirus

Nick School Crop

Photo by Terry Lindsey

High school has always been understood, in my eyes, as a singular era in my life. Not to be taken for granted.

That being said, I hated the literal act of waking up Monday through Friday and having to bear witness to the utter helplessness and, quite frankly, cruel nature of teen angst. These last four years have led me on a path of self-discovery and growth. One that would have—and should have—led me all the way to the finish line. Even in the darkest of times my 15-year-old self experienced, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. A beacon of hope that got me through it. A clear reward. Graduation.

I vividly remember sitting in my sophomore year English class, my day yet again ruined by the expectations of the suburban purgatory I fell victim to. Another day that felt like the end of the world—but alas I popped my earbuds in, typed “Graduation march” into the YouTube search bar, and let myself remember a sense of future nostalgia. A silver lining I’ve maintained my tight grasp on walking from class to class—seven times a day, five days a week, for four straight years.

As a senior at Turner High School in 2020, I am learning first hand that things don’t always go as planned. I figured by this time of year I would be anticipating the milestones that were sure to define my adolescent years; falling in love with the perfect prom dress or proudly proclaiming myself yet another victim of the infamous, “Senioritis.”

Unnamed (2)

Roberston cheering for the Raisers. // Photo courtesy of Maddison Roberston

Instead of fulfilling every item on my “Before Graduation” bucket list I spent months meticulously crafting, I’ve made another in its place: “Things to do in Quarantine.” It is chock-full of nifty ideas and activities to maintain my sanity during this mourning period; curated specially to keep my emotions leveled and my optimistic, “everything happens for a reason” mindset intact.

Online schooling, or should I say the “Continuous Learning Process” isn’t so bad. Sure, the workload is pretty hefty and the lack of routine—a bit anxiety-evoking, but at least I don’t have to wake up at six am anymore, right? 

I suppose eventually I will miss the people I met, or the things that I did. But that’s just life. I suppose one day I might wake up and reminisce on the days where I was a rebellious teen who did wild and outlandish things like hitting my Juul in bathroom stalls. Maybe I’ll miss the five minutes of freedom between classes, or I’ll regret the lessons I slept through. I’m sure there will come a day where I will have a story to tell about the deadly virus that swept the globe.

The thing I will miss most about high school is the closure I never got. The happy ending that never came. My last memories as a high school senior are limited to the movies I watched on Netflix and the food I ate in quarantine. I am not insensitive to the fact that this is a pandemic. People are dying, our economy is in crisis mode, and I shouldn’t waste my breath complaining about missing prom.

These events, in my eyes, just go to show that even the “for sure” things in life are uncertain. I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” and I intend to stick by this way of thinking even through the worldly crisis we are in today. I’m sure there are new silver linings to be found and lessons to be learned in the end. But for now, I am left to find a new light at the end of the tunnel.

Categories: Culture