• Cara Parker

An Open Letter to High School Seniors

Dear High School Senior,

This sucks.

I'm not going to make up stories about rainbows and unicorns to try to get you to feel better.

I'm going to agree with you.

This sucks.

This is not the senior year that you envisioned. While you were excited about snow days that you didn't have to make up, you didn't expect that you would be stuck at home for weeks at a time. You keep receiving news of other things that are cancelled. Big things. Things that you were excited about. Things that matter.

It isn't fair.

You're being asked to pitch in at home. You're concerned about what next year even looks like. And you miss the social piece that school brings.

Somehow, texting and snapchat isn't enough anymore.

You are a generation of creators. Of innovators. Of doers. You are a generation of resilience. You were born around 9/11 and the world has been a constantly changing cycle. Nothing really surprises you. You have learned to expect the unexpected.

What I hope is that you find ways to reconnect with yourself. You have been so busy, working so hard to develop an impressive high school career. You haven't had much time to pursue the things that used to be important, because you have been so focused on sports, clubs, grades, SATs, volunteering, work, and big events. Your family hasn't "seen" you in years, and now you have this new routine of being together all the time.

What if you started to read again for fun? Remember when your elementary teacher just let you have Independent Reading? (Maybe you called it DEAR or SSR back then.) Remember when you could read without analyzing and writing essays about it? Maybe you could dust off a book on your shelf. Maybe you could video yourself reading a children's book and email it to your Aunt whose kids are climbing the wall. Maybe you could start a facebook live where you review books that you have read. Or maybe, you could just sit on a comfy couch and enjoy the words on the page.

What if you made a Mandatory Family Fun time at your house? Every night, an hour before the earliest bedtime, have a family game. You could learn new card games online and teach it to your family. You could play the same game every night and create a tournament. You could create a poster with that extra poster board you are not going to use now and award points. Your parents need this as much as the kids do.

What if you set up a Family Olympics? Find small toys around the house and create games. Find the solo cups in the basement. Go through the garage and come up with games that you can play. Divide the family up into teams. Keep track of points. Make everyone put away their phone. Do stupid stuff together.

Maybe you have always wanted to sew, to paint, to draw, to build with wood. Chances are, you have these things in your house and youtube has instructions for everything! Here's your chance to learn.

Think about setting up a zoom conference with your friends for lunch every day. You miss them at lunch. Create a conference, set the time, get your food, and eat and chat. You need this.

Write songs. Write poems. Do pushups and sit-ups. Go for a run. Throw a ball with your siblings. Learn photography. Learn to cook. Help your parents.

Stay busy.

We're not sure what the lesson is here, but you have been given the gift of time. You have been given the thing that you haven't had for the last five or six years.

Use it well.

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