Frederick High School senior Christopher Pondoc is today’s guest blogger. He writes about ways the “new normal” that is COVID-19 can prepare students to become stronger for years to come.
In light of recent events, the emphasis for us seniors has been on our preparedness for tackling the “new normal.” From our ability to thrive under distance learning to the enumeration of our college acceptances and accomplishments, everything seems to point back to the notion of strength. However, I’ve found it important to consider something that is perhaps opposed: vulnerability.
As I’ve been cooped up in my house, it’s become somewhat natural to dive into periods of introspection: considerations about the next and last four years, unfulfilled memories, and how they all stitch together. Nonetheless, I’ve overwhelmingly felt stuck. Not only am I trying to savor the last moments of high school that have primarily vanished, but I am also preparing myself for a rocky start to my college years. While the sentiment isn’t new, it’s a feeling that I’ve never felt to this extent.
Thus, as much as it’s important to keep our heads held high and endure the circumstances, I’ve found it even more vital to be vulnerable and transparent with the myriad of emotions I’ve been feeling. Admittedly, one can argue that our struggles are by no means the most pressing issue in the world; regardless, you can’t take away the anguish and somber feelings from high school seniors who are being deprived of the quintessential prom, college visits, and graduation.
For maybe one of the only times in our world’s history, everyone from scientists to startups is working together to solve the same problem. Likewise, every high school senior out there is undergoing the same conglomeration of anxieties and worries. In this time of uncertainty, it is imperative that we, too, band together in a network of empathy. Talk to your friends, teachers, parents, and mentors that you cherish; be transparent about the things you miss, the things that irk you, and the things that excite you for the future; and, most importantly, leave nothing behind and unsaid.
As grandiose as our ambitions are, everyone should be cognizant of the appropriateness -- and perhaps even necessity -- for vulnerability during this difficult time. If anything, it is the ability to be vulnerable that will enable us to become stronger for years to come.