The Class of 2020 is having a rough time and I feel so badly for all of our seniors—both high school and college.
My own, daughter, Grace, is expected to graduate from college with honors this May. Many family members have had plans for months to fly to California to see her walk across the stage and celebrate her. So far, it looks like that is not going to happen. Her college has not said for certain whether graduation is on or not.
This is devastating for the seniors who play sports who have lost that final season, even more so for the ones who were at the top of their game on winning teams.
And what about that senior play or the prom?
Grace is home now, but she is experiencing many ups and downs and much uncertainty about her future. She had to abruptly leave her school, her adopted community, her friends, and she is worried about her prospects of landing a job.
Offer a shoulder
Like many parents I listened to her cry on the phone. Now I am listening to her in person. It breaks my heart. She told me, “ I have waited my whole life for this moment and now it’s gone.”
As parents, all we can do is encourage our children and listen to them, but not let them wallow in their losses. It may not seem like it at first, but they can use this time to come up with strategies to keep their lives moving forward. They are fortunate that they have the internet and social media to stay in touch with their friends, their professors and their future employers.
They still have to finish the work—online—so that will keep them somewhat grounded. I am making her meals, encouraging her to not lose sight of her goals, apply for jobs and keep pressing on.
Read a letter from the writer’s daughter to her classmates.
By all means if your child is experiencing major anxiety and depression during this time, reach out to a professional. Otherwise remind them of how much they achieved until this point. They haven’t lost that.
Show our pride
And they have their whole lives ahead of them. We have to remind them that while this is a difficult moment in their lives—one they will never forget—but that they have so much ahead of them.
We have to remind them how proud we are of them and assure them that the best is yet to come.
And when the social distancing is in the distant past we can throw a great big party to celebrate them.