Senn Students Say Farewell To 2020, And Welcome 2021

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2020 hit all of us differently, but for high school students, the disruptions in both learning and socialization were especially challenging.

We asked our RogersEdge Reporter team for their parting messages to 2020, as well as what they are hopeful for in the new year.

Isabella Chamberland (Senn Senior)

2020, a year full of major political monuments, a global pandemic, and a complete shift of the world as we know it. Although many of the issues that were prominent in 2020 were simply existing issues that were amplified, 2020 completely shifted my everyday life. It feels crazy to look back upon sitting in a gymnasium of 100 other students packed shoulder to shoulder, or think about riding the CTA with 20 other people right next to you.  While reflecting upon a world pre-COVID, it almost feels like a dreamscape.    

As a senior in high school, 2020 was not the year I was looking forward to in my prior years of high school.  I can recall hearing seniors in the classes of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 discussing the freedom they felt while participating in senior year.  I was initially very angry at the world and my situation for not allotting the freedom that past classes enjoyed.  It felt almost as if I had been robbed  Especially in high school, where everything you do is leading up to Senior Showcases, the SAT, Prom, and irreplaceable parting moments with your friends and teachers, these circumstances were especially disappointing.  As I was forced to take my AP tests online, my SAT tests late, and resume classes on a computer screen, I felt like I’d never have the satisfaction of a real senior year.  And although 2020 has been a whirlwind of events, I can successfully thank 2020 for teaching me how to adapt.  I never thought I would have to ditch all my current routines and adapt a whole new system successfully, but here we all are.  I’ve found ways to compel myself to study while sitting in bed, fun virtual opportunities to connect with my friends, and new projects that would have not otherwise been possible if not for our current circumstances.

What are you hopeful for in 2021?

In 2021, I’m hoping that COVID-19 care (vaccine, PPE, health care) can become more widely accessible to all people.  Those who have been negatively impacted by the virus and the systemic issues in American which have been amplified by the virus deserve equal access to proper health care and safety.  COVID-19 has especially hit low income and black and brown communities hard, and I’m hoping in 2020, more people can start to support those communities with proper care and systemic change.

On a personal note, I’m also hoping that I’m able to experience more in-person activities once the vaccine is distributed to the public.  Although I’m aware that the process of distributing a vaccine is complex and it will not be readily available to everyone soon, I’m still extremely grateful that there’s chances of in-person opportunities returning sometime in 2021.  Even if this vaccine is not distributed until after I graduate, I’m also looking forward to the senior events (virtual or in person) that will help me feel connected to my community after such a long time of feeling disconnected.  I’m excited for the moment I walk across a stage, google meet, or the Senn Lawn to celebrate graduating high school.

Fey Falodun (Senn Sophomore)

My name is Feyiteniola Falodun I moved here from Nigeria in December 2019 expecting to live a new life, but 2020 wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t expect staying at home, having to wear masks, or even losing people close to me. I didn’t get to explore or really meet people. It’s been a rough year, but I am grateful to be alive and healthy. To 2020, I say there was good and bad, mostly bad, but I am glad to say I made it and be a part of history. And, to 2021, I don’t know what to expect but I’m staying positive and hopeful and I believe we can bring change.

Lesly Fernandez (Senn Junior)

2020, I didn’t completely dislike you. I know it’s shocking but the truth is I met great people during this year, people that I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the pandemic. I did miss out on a lot of things that I had planned for over the summer but I also had some completely new experiences. For one I wouldn’t have experienced e-learning or would have known if it was for me or not. Which, by the way, it’s not really for me since I like interacting with people. When we started remote learning I thought, “finally I get time for myself.” Turns out, I’m not really much of an introvert and would rather talk to people even if I don’t like them much than not have communication with others. Before the pandemic I also didn’t really text people or call them and now calling is one of my favorite things. I mentioned I met new people, you might be asking how? Well, luckily we have the internet and social media. I wasn’t the type of person to make friends online since I like going out and I had given it a shot before and it didn’t really work out. Then I found a couple of friends and I now understand the hype over online friends. I also learned how to swim which I wouldn’t have taken up if it wasn’t for the fact that I didn’t have much to do or anywhere else to be. That just about sums up my 2020 and though it was a rough year I made it.

For 2021 I hope I get to experience more memories with my friends and become more organized. I have so much more hope for this new year, both for the world and myself in general. I hope everything will work itself out for the better even though we had to go through that rollercoaster of a year. Being completely honest, though, I want to get back in a classroom whether it’s during my junior year or senior year. I want to work on group projects, I want to wake up to get ready for school even though I’m not much of a morning person. By far what I miss most is walking home from school, such a peaceful moment after a hectic day, and I hope that I’ll be able to do that once again at some point during the new year. Such simple wishes that at one point I would have never thought I’d ever wish for. Lastly I hope 2021 teaches me as much as 2020 did, preferably letting me go out while learning new things but I think I can take on whatever it brings.   

Arfat Muhammad (Senn Junior)

Something I’m not going to miss is when we had to stay in our homes for months. 2020 will be the worst year in this world, and I’m going to miss all the people who lost their lives.

Something I’m looking forward to is making new goals and achieving them and starting a new life in 2021 without a fear of COVID. Something I’m looking forward to accomplishing is to start my own little business and get a high grade in all of my classes.

Da’Shanae Underwood (Senn Senior)

2020 has done a lot of damage at least for me from my junior year being cut short to not spending my senior with my friends. 2020 has been a hard year for all of us and most of us are relieved that it’s over. This year went by so slow (but fast at the same time), but when I look back, I see all that has happened. I am happy that I survived all the chaos. 2020 has been a hard year but I’m grateful for it and wouldn’t change it. I feel as 2020 was a lesson for all of us and we needed this pandemic to happen to slow down and the riots and protests to happen to reflect on ourselves. I used 2020 to get to know me better and to begin the journey of loving me and accepting me and I plan on continuing that in 2021. I’m not saying 2021 is my year but I’m saying I’m excited for what’s to come and excited to see who I evolve in.

For 2021 I want to definitely continue to focus on myself and being in love with myself for the first time in my life. And becoming a better person and evolving emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Other than that I’m looking forward to graduating high school and starting college and hopefully experience being away from home, so I can get to know myself even more. Hopefully, 2021 is more peaceful and happy, but I definitely know it won’t be easy. I’m ready for it because I got through 2020.

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