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Sink Or Swim With Lack Of Closure



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To the Editor:

I am a senior in high school during the COVID-19 pandemic. For four years I was building myself and learning about who I was. And then that process was stunted, as I saw the final quarter of my senior year canceled. I am not special; there are thousands of kids who have seen their final days as high schoolers robbed from them, relegated to cheap replications from behind a screen.

All of these stolen moments that we had been dreaming of are different for everyone, and yet what we will all share moving forward is a denial of closure. Not just on the concrete things like sport seasons or report cards, but on who we were. The milestone we were approaching was a momentous one. There is a reason why graduations are so grand. They are like that to make us see that what we just went through was not just another year gone by, but an irreversible step into a different part of our lives. It is an attempt at letting us know what’s coming next and how important this next phase of life will be. Because of this current situation, that shift has happened after turning off a Zoom call or digitally submitting a final assignment, not the same shock and awe as walking across that stage.

We need closure in everything in our lives to feel good about what we are leaving behind. Closure tells us that it is okay to move on. Not having a proper button on this period makes it difficult to come to peace about who we were. This lost time leaves a hole. A hole that was supposed to be filled by how we felt taking those final steps in one part of life and our first steps into another.

What a lack of closure often creates is an urge to romanticize. In this case, a version of ourselves that had the conventional senior year. What are we supposed to do with an idealistic version of ourselves lurking in our subconscious, reminding us of what we could have been: these perfect images of what we were hoping to become, created by the part of us that desperately wants to fill that void? The real us will never feel as good, due to this time trapped in stasis where it seems nothing was gained, and a lot was lost.

This lack of closure could sink us, keep our ongoing development arrested, trapped in an idyllic dream of a self. But it also could do the opposite. It could make us want to grab every experience by the horns. What this pandemic could make us see is that nothing is guaranteed. And that does not mean that we should wallow in despair, but that we should appreciate everything that this crazy world allows us to have. Hopefully, it makes us realize that every moment we have in each part of our lives matters and brings us a little closer to feeling whole.

John Godino

1 Dylan Drive, Newtown June 1, 2020

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1 comment
  1. joemce says:

    My young friend:
    I hope you might indulge an old man.

    All four of my grandparents were immigrants to America. My father was the youngest in his family of five siblings that was caught in the Great Depression which gripped the world from 1939 to 1933. Four grueling years.

    All his siblings had to drop out of school and take any job or jobs they could find to help support the family. But because he was the baby, they invested their aspirations in him and insisted he stay in school. He did. But in his senior year of high school, the family was still struggling mightily and he had to find work. He was able to juggle his job as a truck driver with his senior class load and became the first in his family to finish high school. He had to work on his graduation day. Alone, he drove his truck to the high school auditorium, parked, went inside just as his name was called, picked up his diploma while still in dirty coveralls, walked out and returned to his truck.
    Don’t get hung up on ceremony. You did your work and graduated. Congratulations. Now get on with it.

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