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Opinion & Editorial

In Praise of Normal: A Senior’s Covid-19 Reflection 

Image (Andrew Cahall'20)

Where do I even begin? To be honest I’ve stopped reading or watching the news; even if I hadn’t there’s not much I could say that hasn’t already been said. 

I just want things to go back to normal. That’s it. Pretty ironic. Like most seniors, all I’ve done for the past few months (or if I’m really honest-since sophomore year) has been to look forward to senior trip, project, last bell, graduation, internships, one last summer hurrah with tons of time and fewer responsibilities, moving into college, and planning for and daydreaming of what fourth quarter and summer would look like. 

Now, all I want to do is go back to the way things were. Trust me. I whined and complained through the school year as much as anyone else, but I it shouldn’t haven’t taken a global pandemic for me to realize how privileged and meaningful my normal, our normal, mundane Monday through Friday existence really is. And I miss it. 

I miss Junior Speeches. I complained about trekking the 20 seconds through the cold en route to theater a lot, but I miss middle school musical confetti falling on Mrs. Izokaitis, Ezra laughing louder than I ever thought humanly possible during Olivia Tobias’ speech, and Javi holding the door. I miss ignoring Vaughn and Josh Tu’s instructions to take only one random food day cookie and scrambling back to the lounge to finish homework because oh-shoot-I-thought-I-had-a-free-I-forgot-we-had-speeches . . .

I miss check in. I miss Mr. Morford’s elbow bumps, Mrs. Chahal giving me the “I gotcha honey” as I make eye contact across the lounge so I don’t have to get out of the orange swivel chair, and signing someone in during Wednesday’s self-check in because they’re hauling it in from the parking lot and it’s 8:01.

I miss assembly. I miss announcements: Keir, Mr. Dow’s clipboard, D&D, CA Honors PE, Hockey, Jacob’s 14 STEM related clubs, and Kathan as he presides over all of them. I miss Ebube and Jake P absolutely shredding it on the yo-yo, and watching Miles flawlessly operate the Schoedinger theater audio system.

I miss my classes. And trust me, as a second semester senior, I never ever thought I’d say that. I miss Dr. Morris’ backwards lean into his chair, tea in hand as he prepares to impart some wisdom, and Mrs. Bening’s miraculous energy as she calls hello to each groggy face in the stairwell at 8 a.m. I miss political discussions with Dr. Bundy, Shakespearean insults with Mr. Exline, and philosophical discussions in Mr. Leet’s room (as well as the definitely not philosophical discussions after class that he pretends not to hear). I miss watching classmates get obliterated by Dr. Linder’s roasts and unexpected questions, and Mr. Wong and Mrs. Brooks’ amazing patience and ability to deal with me as I hungrily bounce on the edge of my chair before lunch.

Speaking of which, I miss lunch. You can make a surprising number of pretty gourmet lunch recipes using canned tuna, but I’d walk in sub-zero weather for General Tso’s, chicken fingers, or penne a la Academy right about now.

I miss the senior lounge. I miss last minute collective Econ homework crams, sitting in silence because it’s just too early, and tripping over backpacks and empty senior lunch Starbucks cups. I miss playing absurd games such as moo or doing limbo with a leftover yard sign from the Admissions Open House, and seeing teachers confused as they watched us. I miss yelling at people to use the left side of the door because the right side takes a millennium to close and lets in drafts of arctic air, taping it off, having the signs taken down, and putting them back up. I miss commiserating over tests, comparing answers, and recapping the weekend on Monday mornings.

I miss the quad: everything about it. The senior’s last bell – a perfect embodiment of the ridiculous energy we have as a class – spontaneously organized, yelling at tardy seniors to come down from the Upper School balcony, and moshing like nuts at 3:20. I miss Mr. Farrenkopf coming out to distribute hand sanitizer as we stood 6 feet apart and watching and re-watching the video Mrs. Fitzpatrick took once I realized that really was our final bell as seniors. Wow. I miss the seniors.

I’ll stop. I miss all these little moments and countless others, the little things I didn’t notice, took for granted, or actively complained about. But what they all have in common, and what I really miss, are the people in each of them. Whether you’re my best friend or we’ve barely talked, I think I speak for all the seniors when I say that I’m saddened and scared that it ends this way, that I don’t get to say a proper goodbye, and that I didn’t take time to realize or thank everyone in my life who means so much to me until now.

Like I said, I know I am privileged and lucky to have these memories and people. So many people to miss. My friends, classmates, teachers, weekends, games, parties, family, school. (Wow. That one’s weird thing to see in my own handwriting).

I miss normal.

I wish I’d taken time to appreciate normal before it was too late. But hopefully, once this all subsides, we’ll all be able to do so with whatever time is left. 



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