Faye Arcand

Happy Graduation 2020 Amongst the Masks and Isolation

Well you’re done. It’s been quite a ride and experience right up until the very end.

You’ve had your share of exams, fire drills, and spirit days. Now the grad caps have been tossed in celebration (or not) for the first graduating class of the covid-19 pandemic. Oh the stories you’ll tell your kids in the years to come.

Things were handled differently this year for everyone’s safety. From what I’ve seen through social media, the news, and pictures from friends there were some amazing moments for the students.

The staff and administrations of the high schools deserve a standing ovation. I’m so glad that memories were made and altered graduation ceremonies were able to proceed. At last the final bell has rung…

It started off with such wide-eyed curiosity and wonder. Do you remember the thrill of going to kindergarten? Entering those doors as a four or five year old was one of your earliest steps towards true independence.

It may have been the first time away from your mom and dad, and it was probably a new experience having to follow instructions whist trying to harness the energy and excitement of the life going on around you.

I’m sure there were good times, and maybe even a few not so good times, but you made it. Be proud.

I know school isn’t the happiest of places for all so some will embrace graduation as the final step away from the bullies, jocks, and the masses you’re forced to contend with everyday.

Well, let me tell you…whether you attended high school kicking and screaming all the way, or were the kid who skipped down the hallway with a silly grin plastered across their face, the real world is now open for business…sort of.

Everything is skewed because of the pandemic.

If you were thinking of taking a gap year that’s on hold because travel isn’t an option right now. There are jobs but you must be willing to work in a covid-19 atmosphere and of course University/College are returning to their semesters in September as online only.

Ugh! That sucks.

Graduating should be a new start in the big world. A time to spread your wings and fly.

For the last 13 years you’ve spent your days with many of the same people, not out of choice, but out of the dictation of catchment areas and random (and sometimes not so random) classroom assignments. Your life has been structured by the school agenda, but now everything you’ve known and relied on for so many years, will change.

And with the pandemic that change will be a challenge.

It’s a thrilling time of your life and it can be a little overwhelming too as personal choice actually kicks into gear…full throttle.You need to exercise wisdom, common sense, and at first, walk slowly through your new world to avoid falling victim to accidents and impulsive decision making that can lead you into trouble.

Go forward with your own sense of wide-eyed curiosity like when you started kindergarten, knowing that pitfalls and life lessons await. There will be broken hearts, empty bank accounts, and shattered dreams, but there’ll also be the beauty of a sunset, the realization of a goal, and the growing of your soul and spirit.

For several years now, you’ve been surrounded by the same faces, attitudes, and struggles. Will that continue? Only you can answer that.

Often when you separate physically from a group, you can choose to lose touch and go your own way. You can declare your independence and freedom from all things high school and forage out a new identity if that’s what you want.

Even staying in touch by means of social media may hold you back in the high school mentality, as the cliques and inherent insecurities never really change…the “popular girl” will always be that in your mind. Think about it. You do have choice.

The pandemic is real and it does change the immediate plans. Be careful not to let yourself drop into that pit of depression caused by the isolation and lack of choice. Find new opportunities. Research things. Social distance–you can still see your friends…just be smart.

You’ve got the world waiting for you.

You’ll have to practice patience before you actually head out and embrace it head on. Always remember that opportunity and potential are around the corner and if matched with hard work and perseverance dreams can be realized.

The world will wait for you I promise. In the meantime, Congratulations. Try and hold onto that enthusiasm and positive energy.

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