A Letter of Sympathy to the Class of 2020

A Letter of Sympathy to the Class of 2020

Dear seniors,


As a junior, I do not know how you feel. I can’t equally feel your pain, and I am in no position to tell you that it will “all be okay.” This sucks. As I sit here writing this, I have tears in my eyes, but I hope this message finds you in a place of peace as your circumstances allow. 


There seems to be no point in sugar-coating the reality this world is facing and how deeply it has affected you. I know. This is not the way it was supposed to happen. You were afforded with even less time than you thought you had, and it’s not fair. For four years– no, 11– you worked tirelessly, believing that come this May you would be ready to walk across that stage and say goodbye to an old life and hello to a new one. But the current situation has revealed that maybe you aren’t as ready as you thought you were.


I’m here to tell you what you may not be hearing enough. Don’t feel selfish. 


Your emotions matter, because you have been cheated. Plain and simple. You have been cheated out of your shining moment. You have been cheated out of the prom, a senior ditch day, and a graduation. The volumes by which you have lost are not reduced by what the world around you is suffering through. No horrible death, or tragic hardship the coronavirus has put on the people of this country will make this better for you and anyone who makes you feel an ounce of guilt is not your ally. 


Right now, your allies are your classmates. Even the ones you’ve never met, hundreds of them understand that all you’ve come to know is being ripped from your hands, and you feel so powerless to stop it. So when you feel lost and are vulnerable, turn to your corner and the allies that lie there. Come together in the chaos, and feel the pain together.


I’m sorry that you must endure this unceremonious end, which was supposed to be commenced by a graduation ceremony. You wanted to be able to say, “Hey, look! I made it through this!” And while they may be able to take away that opportunity, they can’t take away the 4 years that got you to this place. Because in-between waiting impatiently for it all to be over, were the fun-filled days and nights you spent with your friends– the time you spent on top of the world. Those memories are for you to keep.


So how do you get through this?


Well, that’s for you to decide. I know the disappointment overwhelms you, and I know there were expectations for how this was supposed to play out. But we all need to adapt.  Take advantage of the Zoom calls and technology that allows you to stay in touch with your friends, family, and teachers. You can either spend the next few months mourning what you’ve lost, or you can find new ways to ride out the wave until you can safely go back into the world.


Keep living.


This is a unique position you have found yourselves in. In 10 years when students your age are reading and learning about a reckless pandemic that swept the nation, they will read about you. You are living through the pages of a future history book, but the story is not complete. So pick up the pen, and write your ending. Let them read how you triumphed. How you pushed your way out of quarantine with a better sense of self, and understanding of the fact that life is short. It’s too short to live in past expectations, and too short not to make the most out of what you still have. 


To the class of 2020: this is still your story. I trust you will finish it boldly.




Devyn Rowan, An Ally