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Reflecting on Senior Year 

High school is coming to a close for the Class of 2020, and soon a new chapter will begin. Growing up in the changing society after 9/11/01, we are now living through a new change in society to add on top of that. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there was already talk of the new ways that people will need to adapt to these growing concerns about the spread of the virus. 


On March 13, we had our last day of school for the year, and we had no idea what was coming at us next. Everyone was so excited to have a two week break from going to school, and students, especially myself, did not expect the virus to take the turn that it did. So many of us expected it to be a nice vacation, but it was the complete opposite for most. As for myself, I did not handle this situation very well. I am a very sentimental person and like to take everything in, knowing I would never get it back. I spent most of these almost three months of social isolation in my head. I didn’t know exactly how to feel, and barely felt anything at all. I went through phases of having hope that we'd return, to then feeling hopeless in an instant, that we would not.


Once it was confirmed by the governor that we would not be returning to school, I was in shock. Though I expected it, I did not actually think it would become a reality. Knowing I would never get those last few months of my senior year made my heart hurt. I wouldn’t be able to be in class with my friends or walk through the halls ever again at Nutley High School. 


These past four years have changed me and made me who I am today in the best way possible. I have found people who I can actually call my friends that have been there and supported me in everything that I did.


Every single one of my teachers has impacted and taught me so much, whether it was about the class they taught or able life  in general. These teachers really do care about all of us and made sure we had the most enjoyable time in a place we all thought was the absolute worst place to be.


If it weren’t for my freshman year English teacher Mrs. Coppola, I would still be the quiet girl who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life after I graduated. I wanted to take the TV class my sophomore year, but needed a recommendation from my English teacher to even be considered to be interviewed to see if I was good enough and actually wanted to take the class. I was scared to even ask Mrs. Coppola because I didn’t think I was fit for the class. When I talked to her, she thought I would be perfect for the class and told me to do it, even though I was terrified of being interviewed by Mr. Kelly. I remember shaking because I was so nervous just sitting and waiting for it to be my turn for the interview. It turns out it was actually the easiest thing I could have ever done and I ended up being accepted into the class. That accomplishment itself made me feel like I could do anything.


My love for the TV Production class gave me the idea to take Journalism my junior year with Ms. Greco. I thought the two classes would mix well together and were very interested. I stepped out of my comfort zone and Ms. Greco pushed me to interview people in person. Having to talk to people who I would not normally interact with was scary at first, but it came naturally once I started to do it more and more. When Ms. Greco told me she had chosen me and only a few other people to take Journalism II the next year, I was so excited and realized I had found what I wanted to do in the future. As I sit here writing my last article for the Maroon and Gray ever, I cannot be more pleased with how far I’ve come. 


Being a student athlete, I was so excited to have my final track and field season this year. I was unable to compete in the winter because of other things I had going on outside of school. I was so ready to take on the spring season, went to practice and gave it my all, and within about two weeks it was ripped out from under me. I will never have another chance to meet people, especially underclassmen, and be able to be the senior that helped them get through a workout, even if I was struggling through it myself or even try to calm them down before their first race. I have met so many people by doing the sport that I started freshman year just for fun since I was still a competitive gymnast at the time. Being skeptical about it at first, it turned into one of the best things I decided to do in highschool. 


The Class of 2020 and I were very lucky to have been able to have the senior cruise as well as the fashion show, but we were so close to having prom and graduation. It goes to show how quickly things can change in seconds. The excitement for prom had just begun weeks before we left school. I had already got my prom dress along with many of the other seniors. I have dreamed of these two things since I stepped foot in high school. I wanted to be able to have a prom night with my friends, and prom weekend of course. Even though it was scary to imagine, I could not wait to have that blissful feeling of throwing my cap in the air on the day of graduation. 


As for me and my plans for after high school, I will be attending William Paterson University for Communications and Broadcast Journalism. Being unable to finish my senior year in a classroom, I can say it made the “moving on” process a lot easier to imagine. I dreaded leaving my friends and teachers these past few months, but the virus made it happen a lot sooner. I didn’t really put in an effort to try to find people who I would be going to college with because I had my friends right in front of me and that’s all I needed at that moment. But like I said before, I have come to terms with moving on from my high school years and I just have to hope I won’t drift from the friends I have now just because we made new ones in college. 


I have realized that I am not the only one who is experiencing this tragic time period, and that there are people living in circumstances way worse than what I have going on in my life. I have a home, family, food, and I am healthy. I don't know if it is just because I am growing up, but these past few months of being at home really has changed the way I view the world and all of the things I took for granted before. I am now going to live life to the absolute fullest and not take any second for granted with my family and friends when I am able to see them again. 


Not to sound cliche, but when I was told that high school would be gone in the blink of an eye, I only realized now that it is true. If you are still in high school and reading this right now, please do not sit around and dwell on whether or not you want to try something new like a sport, a class, or a club, just do it. The worst possible thing that could happen is that you end up not enjoying it, but at least you can say you tried. 


To the Class of 2020, and everyone at NHS, I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours and hope we all see each other soon.