As the end of October approaches, leaves are piled on the vacant bleachers, the senior deck remains deserted and our sports facilities collect dust. Meanwhile, I sit at home, trapped in a digital box on the days that I should be laughing with my friends on the senior deck, or building our float and preparing for our Spirit Dance.
As the younger sibling of two Palo Alto High School graduates, I saw my brothers in full camo on their first day of school and dressed up in togas for Spirit Week. I was excited at the prospect of finally winning Spirit Week and having one last chance to dress up with my friends.
It seemed like almost every senior in the years ahead of me participated in building the float or perfecting their spirit dance. Now, the football field is filled with an eerie quietness, and the quad is completely deserted. The cars in the auto shop slowly rust without any students to tend to them.
When school was initially canceled, I had mixed feelings; I was excited that I would be able to take my tests and quizzes in the comfort of my home, and I felt grateful that I wasn’t a senior since they had to miss out on their second semester. I was blissfully unaware as to how long the school shutdown would last.
It’s overwhelming to realize that I am missing out on memories that every “typical” high school student has had before us. The traditions that I took for granted are now either canceled or up in the air for the second semester.
The senior year I had once envisioned was one of after-school Spikeball and a severe case of senioritis.
Now, with college apps and online classes, the most interesting thing I can do is change the background of my zoom screen and the farthest place I can venture out to is my own backyard.
The most interesting thing I can do is change the background of my zoom screen and the farthest place I can venture out to is my own backyard.
I’ve always looked at senior year as the end goal, the year that I’d finally get to relax before I go off to college, leave this bubble and find out what the real world is like.
This mentality may seem like a fast track to catching senioritis, but to me it’s tradition. I went through three years of hard work and stress to finally submit my college apps, and now it feels like I did all of the work to receive none of the benefits.
I know this may be something I would call “a first world problem” because there are so many larger issues around the world, but it bothers me that we’re missing out on so many memories that previous generations of Paly alumni have made.
And while my feelings on this subject are still pessimistic, a small part of me holds onto the belief that come January, we’ll be back in school and everything will have a chance at being normal again.
Even if this thinking comes off as illogical, it’s important that we focus on the future so that we can figure out how to get out of this together — the outcome of this year will be representative of the steps we take to make the most of what we have.