To the class of 2020:

I am sure you have already heard, ad nauseam, from teachers, parents and others that the closing of schools for the remainder of the academic year and the cancellations of all after-school activities is a life lesson.

You have undoubtedly been told that this can prepare you for the “real world,” in which situations arise far beyond our control and we must learn to adapt. It has probably crossed your ears that this should serve as reminder to never take things for granted. Maybe it has been said to you that this situation can help outline all the positives in your life.

While I believe all these things to be true, I am not going to be another voice telling you what you have already heard. That is because like those who have likely uttered these sentences to you, I am not going through what you are. My senior year has not been cut short, my prom has not been cancelled, my last season playing baseball has not been nixed, and my chance to walk across the stage and receive my diploma surrounded by some of the best friends I will ever have has not been stolen from me.

Those experiences have been taken from you, and through absolutely no fault of your own. It is unfortunate, it is heartbreaking, it is frustrating. For lack of a better term, it sucks, and it is an aching that will not be cured by what others tell you.

But I do hope that in time you will understand these events and potential memories were taken from you for the greater good. I hate that you will be robbed of the culmination of four years of high school and over a dozen years of formal education, but the country, and world, are safer as a result.

That may not be a consolation you are ready to field right now, and I understand. This is unfair. But it has made the class of 2020 perhaps the most unique graduating class in our lifetime. You are a class forever etched into the consciousness of all, and a graduating class that has been unified nationally.

You will be stronger as a result of all of this.

That is something else you have probably heard from parents and teachers. They are not wrong, but it is okay if you don’t want to think about that right now.

You have been asked to mature more than anyone could reasonably expect in just a matter of weeks, and it is not an easy situation to handle with a stiff upper lip.

But know that all those doling out their take on how you will come out of this more resilient are saying so because they do believe it to be true, and they are saying it because they care about you.

Our heartache is nowhere near the same league as yours, but we all feel for you.

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