It’s safe to say senior year hasn’t turned out exactly how we were hoping. For most of us senior year is the culmination of all our hard work in school. If you do things right it’s a time to relax and reap the benefits of 12 years of school.

If you would have asked me my freshman year what I imagined my senior year to look like, in my wildest dreams I could never have gotten close to reality. Things started off bad, and they didn’t end great. My dad was diagnosed with brain cancer and died 6 months later, 9 weeks after that my grandpa passed away. So yeah, you could say my year could have been better, and this is before a global pandemic.

To top it off, arguably the most exciting part of my high school career ended just like that. No graduation, or prom, no grad parties, senior celebration, spring sports, all gone in the blink of an eye. And I had my little moment of grief, a time to mourn for all the experiences taken from me.

And then I remembered that everyone has had something taken from them, weddings, birthdays, funerals, new jobs, and vacations. It doesn’t make me feel better to know that other people are suffering and have lost something equally as important to them as the last nine weeks of high school are for me, but it makes me feel better to know that we all have a level of empathy for each other now.

When my dad died people were so nice and understanding, but many of them have never experienced that before, and that can be an isolating experience. This pandemic for me isn’t as bad as those six months that my dad was sick, I don’t know that anything ever will be. There are obvious reasons for that, but a less obvious one is that I don’t feel isolated.

This is a moment in time that all of us are experiencing together. And even though objectively this is a terrible time, rarely have I felt so supported and cared for by the community before. Instead of grieving and being angry, at least in Derby, people are choosing to support others, because in the end we’re all in this together. Everyone has lost something, but instead of focusing on that, we’re focusing on what we can do for others.

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