The phrase “kill two birds with one stone” often connotes a theme of efficiency and practicality, using your available resources to obtain the best possible input. However, in today’s society, it is not the one stone that kills the two birds, but rather two stones killing the one bird. The gentle bird smashed by two hard, callous stones. In this elaborated metaphor, the two stones for this gentle bird, the student, is “senioritis” and COVID-19.

How the Pandemic Hurt our Plans and Aspirations

As a fellow senior, I can prescribe that these feelings are simply inevitable and incurable. Once those acceptance letters come in, once the shoe is on the other foot, you finally feel the burden of four arduous years coming to an end. In life, we put ourselves in the best possible position, dedicating time to schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and general future preparation, only for those efforts to be ultimately be decided by something out of our control. A simpler way of explaining this is from our habits to put ourselves in control to a point when our work becomes out of our control. We finish a test to ultimately be evaluated by someone who is not us, a teacher or professor. We conduct a job interview to ultimately be evaluated by a job interviewer or senior official at some point. Uncontrollable uncertainty is inherent in life, and the coronavirus pandemic has certainly taught us that.

However, as I said, once the letters come in, our aspirations of a certain college, program, lifestyle, career, and more become reality. We worked for four years, if not our entire lives, to achieve this goal, and now we are in control of our destiny. The sigh of relief comes, and we can now celebrate. The cycle of guarantee and no guarantee has finally ended in our favor for just a brief moment in time. We now have actual choices to make, instead of just existing in the hypothetical. We are ready to advance into a new lifestyle with favorable changes. But first, let’s cherish our final moments as high schoolers. Might as well before we start the process of strenuous academic work and thinking about our future again. Might as well live in the moment.

Except we can’t. When humans are together, they have this ability to connect, which has been inherent in people since the very beginning. Yes, other animals do collaborate, but do they really connect the same way as humans? Not necessarily. We stop worrying about our future and agonizing about our past, because we see the person in front of us and realize to appreciate this moment with them. Each hangout, meetup, and interaction can be stored in our memory, at least to an extent. Yet, we can’t appreciate ourselves and the people around us. We are stuck to be by ourselves. Because we can be our own harshest critic, there’s no one else to support us. We are left to fight inner battles without supporting cavalry.

Our Changes in the Wider World

Now, I am not advocating for breaking any restrictions and suggestions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That is an obvious disclaimer that I would like to point out. We shouldn’t be in large gatherings, without our masks, without washing our hands, without social distancing, without everything that keeps us safe. I am here to present the concerns, not solve them. I hope that people make the right choice, but ultimately it is up to them.

As a generally motivated and hard-working student, social life doesn’t come easy to me. It really never will. I don’t regret the time I spent focusing on school or activities or anything, because it is my choice. If you get the hard stuff done, then you have more free time to enjoy. How I spend my time has shaped my character, my personality, etc.

However, I was just hoping to explore being more social and start interacting with other people. Going to more events. Talking with friends. Just being around with other people instead of being by myself. I was hoping that I could do that, for one point in my life, I could dedicate just a little less time to academics and more time to social things and the effect would be negligible.

Again, like many other things, the opportunity was denied. I just had to accept that this reality was not going to happen and was not worth fighting for. As seniors go off their separate ways, undeveloped friendships become estranged to the point of complete separation. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the way life works, and it’s beneficial for us. I came to realize that this period is coming sooner now than ever. “Senioritis” is here and spreading, but its triumph and glory is not as pronounced. We sit by ourselves, wondering what our college experience will be like, hoping for a better 2021 fall experience, hoping that the vaccine will absolve any concerns we have. But for me, it is just false hope. That’s how these pandemics are taking a toll on us. We grow so drained by coronavirus that every message, every news report about the topic feels more and more depressing. These feelings culminate from sadness to frustration to outright anger. Things aren’t going my way, and I didn’t do anything. Why?

I don’t have any advice to solve this issue. I wish I did. It is sad for me to say this, but I think it is time we start moving on. We must progress sooner, still cherishing those memories for what they are, but not forcing new ones with recklessness. Possibly we will discover more friends, but ultimately for now, it’s too late. Hopefully, we may reconnect later, but that remains unknown.

Coronavirus is forcing us to progress sooner than expected. Humans like to have that moment of appreciation and gratitude before going into something new. Unfortunately, we can’t have that. The motivation will be gone, but the celebrations, the happiness, the glories, the fond memories with friends, the togetherness will be nonexistent. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We must let go of that tension, that frustration about the world not being in our favor. We must accept the reality or be forced into agonizing into the hypothetical past, leading us to stagnation, where we think the past is real, where we become the modern embodiment of Jay Gatsby.

Generation Z is starting to find the issues that define and truly impact our generation the most: COVID-19, racial injustice, deep political and economic divisions, protests that can turn into acts of violence, the engulfing power of social media, post 9-11 and privacy concerns, climate change and environmental challenges, politicians leaving the issues that they can’t and won’t solve for the kids to just “figure it out.”

Quite a tumultuous world out there for us to fight, change, and encounter. I don’t know what to do or who to be to be honest. Lost and confused. This is how the world feels right now to an upcoming 2021 graduating senior.

Disclaimer: My views do not represent the Roundup’s views. Each of us are different people with our own opinions based on our own distinctive experiences, and this is simply my own opinion. Others may have different views, but I wanted to share one perspective of what it’s like being a senior experiencing the effects of COVID in his second semester. I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone in any way. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my perspective! If you would like to learn more, please comment or send me an email located on my profile.

Check back to The Roundup for more interesting student profiles!