As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a long awaited end, we were asked to choose a word that best represented this unusual time. You may have guessed that we came up with a whole potato sack of different words that could potentially wrap-up this dumpster fire of a year. But as we considered some of the positive things that came out of this year, we decided the perfect word to represent 2020-2021 is “growth.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of growth is: “The process of developing or maturing physically, mentally, or spiritually.” While spending almost a year in lockdown, we seemingly didn’t have much to do besides grow (that and binge watch The Queens Gambit or Schitt’s Creek). As rising seniors, we also had, and continue to have, impending responsibilities that emphasize maturity and encouraged us to learn how to do things on our own.
Growth, whether it was personal or in other forms, we can all agree that there has been a lot of it this past year. Whether we liked it or not, COVID-19 forced us to spend more time with family and find creative ways to see friends again. In doing so, we learned more about how important these relationships are in our lives. But learning when to let go of certain friendships and understanding the value of ourselves is another meaningful lesson we learned this year that helped us grow, not only as friends, but also as people.
As our relationships grew, so did our knowledge and consideration of mental health. Through the hard times, we learned to open up to people and to know when to take a step away from our schoolwork when we we felt overwhelmed. With this understanding of mental health, we also learned the importance of reaching out to friends and making sure that they are doing okay.
We laughed, we cried, then cried some more, and then had no choice but become better people. This year and the lessons we’ve learned will not be forgotten, and we will carry them with us into our rapidly approaching young adulthood. That may sound scary, but after going through a plague, we can definitely handle it.