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To the Class of 2021 (and everyone else)

To the class of 2021, who threw their caps and celebrated the end of a long four years of high school, and prepared to move on to their various future endeavors.

I have a few thoughts I would like to share. I do not know if I am alone in these thoughts, and perhaps I am, but I am writing this in the chance that I am not, and it might benefit someone else to hear it.

When I graduated in June, I was thrilled. Ready to leave for school and to spend the summer preparing. And now, less than three weeks away, I find myself caught between wanting to leave, and feeling robbed. Maybe this is something everyone feels before moving to college, but it feels somewhat exemplified by everything that's happened over the past year.

I feel robbed of time.

The Covid-19 pandemic stole time from all of us. It took over a year away from us. I barely had a senior year of high school, most of it spent online. I recognize that this in particular was my own choice, I could have gone part time. But I chose not to, because keeping myself and my family safe was more important to me than going into a building where I couldn't trust other people to do so. Regardless, I ended up with a mere number of months to attribute to my senior year. I understand that not everyone was left with these few months. Many pretended there was nothing going on and continued to live their normal lives.

To those who sacrificed, who didn't see friends and family, who wore their masks even when they didn't want to, who lost time to protect other people - thank you.

To those who didn't - I hope in the future, you think about the bigger picture.

Over 600,000 people died of Covid in the U.S. alone.

To put that into perspective, think of the first four Harry Potter books, plus the Half Blood Prince. Even if you've never read them, you know how big those books are. Combined, they have around 620k words. Every single world filling every single page (2,034 pages total), is a person in the United States who died of Covid.

But I have gotten off topic.

I feel myself resenting everything that has happened. I understand that, compared to the big picture, I lost so little. But I also recognize the fact that, it is okay to feel resentful, to feel frustrated, to want all that time back.

We lost time.

And no matter what else you lost, if you lost anything else, time itself is a very big thing to lose.

I feel like there's a hole in my timeline, where a year and so many months should be. And now, preparing to go off to college, I want just a few more days. Maybe a week, a month, to get back some of that time.

If we lived in a perfect world, I think everyone should get a year off. No work, no school, just a year to recover. We didn't live though a small thing. But we have to keep going, because that is simply how this society operates, as unfortunate as it is.

But that doesn't mean it's not okay to want a break. To want time back.

I do.

To my fellow class of 2021, I wish you the best in all your future endeavors. I am proud of you for getting here.

To everyone else - I am proud of you, also.

And now, before I sign off, I have a few parting words. This pandemic isn't over yet. Whether you choose to believe science or not, is your choice. But in that choice, is a decision of whether or not you will make sacrifices to protect other people. We have already lost over a year, I'd rather we didn't lose any more time.

Be safe, get vaccinated, and wear a mask.

Best of luck in this coming year!

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