COVID-19 is a nightmare and I can’t wake up

Editor+in+Chief+Da-Hyun+Hong+%28second+from+left%29+spends+time+with+her+friends+before+the+COVID-19+situation.+

Editor in Chief Da-Hyun Hong (second from left) spends time with her friends before the COVID-19 situation.

Da-Hyun Hong

I’m writing this at 1:36 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, and I’ve just gotten news that Gov. Holcomb declared all Indiana schools to remain closed until May 1. Maybe I’m just emotional, but my heart is broken. We all made jokes last Friday, telling each other “Enjoy your coronacation!” and “I’ll see you after this hiatus!” But I think the odds of us actually returning to school are getting smaller and smaller. Numerous colleges have closed down for the rest of the Spring semester. According to CNN, Kansas ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the school year and California could be next in line. An article from Vox states that experts from Yale and Harvard predict the spread of corona to slow down by the Summer, but Livescience claims experts are still a year or two away from creating a vaccine.

If you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve probably heard me say that I’m a very imaginative person. I like to plan scenarios in my head and picture every last detail. It’s difficult for me to let go of these daydreams sometimes, but COVID-19 has officially put me in a nightmare. My first dance competition of the season was canceled and the studio’s been closed all week. We canceled the April Issue of the HiLite and directed all efforts to cover the coronavirus. I’ve never been ecstatic about competing in ISSMA in the past, but the fact that this was my last one meant something to me. Prom will most likely be canceled, and I have no idea what to do with my dress. The thought of taking AP exams anywhere besides that traumatizing gym hurts my head. And finally, jokes about the Class of 2020 having a virtual graduation aren’t funny at all anymore. They were amusing a week ago but now I’m trying to find a way to accept the possibility that I won’t get to walk—something we’ve all waited our whole lives for (I can’t imagine how seniors in college feel).

I think I speak for the majority when I say it’s not fair. I feel like all of my “lasts” have been ripped away from me. I envisioned my last day of school to be full of sappy goodbyes and heartfelt messages scribbled in my yearbook, not teachers instructing us on how to use Canvas from home. No offense to my wonderful teachers, but let’s be honest—this isn’t what any of us wanted. My heart goes out to the juniors as well, who are stressing about their standardized tests and all the events they’ve worked so hard for but can’t even put on their resumes anymore. I’m sorry for all the college students who were forced back to their hometowns, regardless of whether it’s safer, and who have no choice but to have the insane amounts of money spent on tuition turn into lectures through a screen. 

I’ve been trying to keep my head up, passing the time by facetiming friends, failing to make whipped coffee, scrolling for hours on social media, learning embroidery, and maybe opening Canvas every now and then. But I miss my friends and teachers. I miss the school. I miss being outside. I miss not worrying about what the near future holds. I miss having control over what my senior year would look like. I know social distancing and flattening the curve is for our own safety, but I just really can’t make peace with the fact that this had to happen now. 

That being said, I know we’re all going to make it through this. The world will return to the way it was sooner or later (or even much much later). I think the best we can do is to just find strength in our friends and value all this free time we have. Take on new hobbies, facetime that person you haven’t talked to in months, eat healthier and exercise, binge as many TV shows and movies as you can, read a book (or maybe even bookS), cut bangs or dye your hair (no one’s going to see it if you fail anyway), and most importantly, be there to support anyone else in need.

Class of 2020, we all need to lean on each other right now. And pray to any god in existence that we’ll get to shake hands with Principal Harmas in person and not through a computer.

P.S. To anyone still bold enough to go out to large gatherings and parties, this is no longer an “I’m young and COVID-19 won’t affect me” situation. Please stay indoors and protect other people who may not be as healthy as you.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Da-Hyun Hong at [email protected]

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