Why Us? Advice for the class of 2020

Dealing with the loss of the last quarter and all the milestones of senior year

Avery Liby, JAG editor-in-chief

In February, when one of my friends mentioned we had three months left until graduation, I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t ready to even think about the end of my senior year. I had finally grown to love the school I attend. My first two years at Mill Valley were spent fantasizing about the day I would walk out the doors for the last time. It wasn’t until my junior year that I realized I was wasting a great part of my life. Now that I feel like I am finally able to fully accept and appreciate every aspect of high school, it’s sad to see it come to an end so much sooner than I expected.

 In the first few days after the announcement of the closure of all K-12 schools by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, I thought about everything I would miss out on. I had a list on my laptop of things to look forward to in my last few months: Relay for Life, my final journalism trip, senior prom, the KSPA state contest and my last day of school where I would say goodbye to the people I’ve grown up with and the teachers who have shaped me. As I deleted each milestone from my notes, the reality of the situation began to set in.

I realized I will never walk the halls that I’ve grown to love again, at least as a Mill Valley student. I will never have another AP Statistics class where I turn to my right to see senior Morgan Koca with a blank stare on her face and laugh, because I know she is just as confused as I am. I will never hear the fight song at an assembly again or have people glare at me as my camera shutter clicks obnoxiously during a band concert. I won’t have another blue day where I walk out the doors of the activities entrance with senior Mandy Teasley before heading to Mill Creek Middle School and seeing the students and teachers at my community service placement. I will never again sit in the back row of the journalism room and high five my best friends and fellow EICs after sending another deadline of yearbook spreads.

Staring at the prom dress that hung on my closet door, I sunk deeper into self-pity. I was consumed by the injustice of it all. My classmates and I have worked so hard for over three and a half years of high school, only for it to end like this. The things we had been working for: finishing spring sports seasons, getting the last few hours for community service to achieve a gold award, planning the school’s beloved Relay for Life event, performing at the last choir or band concert and finally wearing all the cords we earned on a graduation day we may never see.

Although this is an unfair situation, as my mom loves to remind me, “life isn’t fair, so get used to it.” As a diehard pessimist, when I’m told to see the positive I often roll my eyes, but right now we can’t afford to be hung up on the negative. It’s important to see this for what it is: an opportunity for growth. This isn’t the universe punishing us, it’s challenging us and preparing us for our futures. 

In life, we will be dealt cards that we may not be prepared for or know how to handle. It’s important that we know how to accept these situations we can’t control and adapt to them. In the future, we won’t have all our best friends that understand the exact challenges we are going through. Now it’s important that seniors take advantage of what we do have: each other. Cling to your classmates and remind one another that there is a reason for this; we will emerge better people than we were before. Talk to your friends and don’t isolate yourself, we are stronger together than apart. 

When all else fails, remember we will return to normalcy. We will pick up and move on. We will get our diplomas, go back to work, go to college and begin our lives as strong, independent individuals. The fact that we have been handed this challenge means we will be even more prepared to take on the world than we would have been without it. Just remember, there is happiness in front of you and life is not ending.

Find things to look forward to even though they may not be things you originally anticipated. Despite my initial sadness of crossing everything off my list, I’ve recently found comfort in planning out my future dorm room and getting excited for the next chapter of my life at Kansas State University. 

Although this part of our life is ending prematurely, it doesn’t mean life will never be good again. Treasure the memories you made and the people you met in high school. Remember what you’ve discovered about yourself and the lessons you learned in the last four years. It’s important to accept that our time at Mill Valley has come to an end and now it’s time to focus on moving on. We have so much to live for, and the best days lie ahead of us.

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