Dear High School Senior

So, a pandemic took away your senior year. What now?


Illustration by Lainey Holland

Words by Ella Treinen, Managing Editor

March 18, Quarantine day 3

Dear High School Senior,

So your senior year isn’t exactly going the way you intended. So life as you’ve always known it seems to have flipped entirely upside down. It’s kind of awful. I’m Ella Treinen, a high school senior, and I understand. 

This was the year you’d been eagerly anticipating for three years, wishing to be the big bad senior who was finally being celebrated for all that they’d done over the course of high school. It was your chance to step into the limelight and just appreciate your journey — I know. I couldn’t wait to finish the semester leading a lacrosse team through what could’ve been a transformative season, dancing at senior prom with friends I would never forget, just living out all of the lasts at duPont Manual High School. 

I understand that there are larger issues facing our world right now, bigger than what could be the termination of our senior year, but that doesn’t mean that my heart, our hearts, are not heavy over this uncertainty. We want to know that the last day we were at school, feeling as though we were trudging through the halls during a pending apocalypse, wasn’t our only opportunity to say goodbye. 

But, here’s the deal. I’m glad that it was us. I believe that we, as a generation, are fiercely capable of identifying the silver linings that I’m forced to believe accompany all tragedies. High school seniors, you are hungry for social interaction, for controversial conversation, for ambitious creative masterpieces, for change. You’ve done such a great job these four years at overcoming — when we hid under our desks during regularly practiced shooter drills, when we fought for our teachers, when the presidency changed everything. Now, we just have to get a bit more creative. 

Let’s all take this time to turn to the things that we know. Hop on your computer, bust out your paintbrushes or your guitar, write down solutions on a napkin. Now is the time to document how all of this is making you feel, because when it’s all over, don’t you want to look back on this period of darkness and be proud of how you responded?

I know that I do. Every time that I watch a movie, read a book, revisit historical tragedies, I think about the people behind the situation — those who rose to the occasion and those who fell victim to the suffering, the self-pity. And then, I wonder which of those people I would be. It’s easy to assume you’d be a hero, but this is the first time that we, as a generation, have truly seen the world collectively hold its breath. It’s a lot harder to overcome your natural defense mechanisms than I anticipated. That’s no excuse.

I’ve been exercising an unhealthy dose of pity. Some of it is concern for the people I love and the ones I don’t even know, but after being cooped up in my room for just three days, I’m ready to do something. I hope you are too.

Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet” while in quarantine. Newton discovered calculus. Now is the time to revisit that one thing that you never had the time to fully indulge in. Don’t wallow in this unfortunate situation. Become one of the heroes inside the four walls of your bedroom — you’re equipped with all the tools and nothing is standing in your way. It’s a cloudy time in our lives and I know it can be hard to see clearly, but don’t lose sight of who you were before the storm. We need that person now more than ever.

I’ll see you on the other side.


Ella Treinen