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An open Letter to the Class of 2020

An open letter to the class of 2020, written and composed by fourWVU seniors.

Dear Seniors,

Who knew? Who knew that there was going to be a big pandemic? Who knew that it was going to shut down pretty much everything that we do on a daily basis? Who knew that school was going to go online and graduation, our graduation, was going virtual? Let me tell you, we definitely did not. The dreams of walking across that stage, looking out and thinking about all of the great accomplishments that we’ve done over the last four years were all ripped away in the matter of just one email.

Seniors held their breath many times over the past few weeks, afraid of what the ruling for some of the most important events of their life would be. We all got the same email saying that graduation would be moved to a virtual ceremony, and felt a cloud of heaviness surround us. We were angry, sad, confused, and left with a horrible sense of uncertainty. We didn’t, and still don’t know, how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact our futures, which aren’t too far away now. We were supposed to have one last month to figure it out, to have fun with our friends, to make mistakes and learn how to fix them, before we were thrown out into the world. We were supposed to sit in the Coliseum or Creative Arts Center wearing our cap and gowns, singing Country Roads, feeling the excitement buzzing around the room as we waited for our name to be called, to hug President Gee. All that was taken from us, seniors, but it is nobody's fault.

Woodburn Photo by Benjamin Powell

The class of 2020 understands that canceling graduation and having our senior year come to a quick and untidy end was necessary for the greater good. We get that. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t able to mourn the loss of some of the best times of our lives. Graduation, our last finals week, formals, our capstone projects and everything else we were looking forward to, was just taken away from us leaving us without any closure. That’s the worst part. We get no closure from our 4-year relationship with our college. We don’t know the next time we’ll be able to see our friends, we may never get a chance again to see our favorite professors and we will never get our last 2 months of school back. So yes, although we get that this is necessary, it’s also necessary to mourn the loss of our senior year.

Mourning and coping these lost experiences is something no one has talked to us about. It is different for everyone and how they process these events. There isn’t a quick fix to the emotions everyone is feeling right now and the best advice I’ve gotten is to feel them. Don’t shut yourself off, talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you feel and get it off your chest. Also remember, you’re not alone in this. Hundreds of thousands of students are going through the same exact thing you’re going through right now. The class of 2020 is in a weird way connected through this and we will all come out of this stronger for it.

So, although our graduation will be online, we can still do our best with what we got and make memories nonetheless. Decorate your cap how you originally planned to, get dressed up and take pictures in your cap and gown, have a virtual party with your friends and family– these are memories you will look back on and smile, even though it didn’t happen how we all expected. Walking across the stage was how we all thought this chapter of our lives would close, but we can all rewrite our own ending!

seniors Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

Everything is going to be alright, we promise. We all have to step back and realize everything college gave us that we are grateful for, even if we can’t walk across the stage or finish out our last semester. Think about all of the lifelong friends you made, unforgettable memories you’ll cherish, and about all you’ve learned before you were thrown out into the world. We still have the rest of our lives to look forward to, so remember this isn’t an end, it’s the beginning of a wonderful, crazy, ever-changing life. We hope your journey at WVU has been a wild and wonderful one.

Let’s Go Mountaineers!

Written and composed by Kaity Amador, Brittany Pennell, Kenzie Pigott and Blair Shea

(We would like to dedicate a huge thank you to everyone working diligently at WVU to keep classes running, keeping our students safe and making the tough decisions affecting every student, parent, professor, etc. We would also like to thank all of the essential workers that are risking their lives each and everyday.)