Letter to the Editor: Clearview senior reflects on COVID-19 pandemic

Paige Bathurst talks about how she is thankful even though many senior year events have been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

As a child and even to today, I have struggled with relationships. Becoming friends with people and maintaining those friendships was a constant problem for me. High school was a revolving door of people from me. I experienced a lot of loss coming into senior year after being friends with so many people who had graduated in 2018 and 2019. I was so excited to just graduate and go to college so that I could move on. Even though I have always had the longing to be able to be on my own and on a campus full of people who don’t know me, I’ve been slowly coming to the realization of what this will mean when I leave high school. All of this though, has led up to a last three months of my high school career that was never expected.

On March 7, I purchased a dress that was meant for me to wear at my senior prom. I am not sure if that is going to be able to happen now. Less than one week later, the director of my school musical told the cast that our show was to be postponed indefinitely. We had worked on the show for two and a half months prior and had one week left before we performed. Four days after that, we got the notice that we would be distance learning for two weeks, which has now turned into five, which will most likely turn into more. Last night, we got the official word that our senior trip, originally planned for the end of April, will not be then. Our parents received a survey asking if they should take the refund that is being offered right now, or wait to see if it can be postponed to the first two weeks in June. We were warned though that the refund may not be offered in the next few days or weeks and that if we try to postpone it, we may have to pay more than the original $1,600. What was supposed to be our joyous ending to the past 12 years of hard work has become an endless cycle of doing schoolwork at home and imagining what senior year was actually supposed to be like.

I am thankful to have committed to Rowan University just weeks before this started. Although I am confident in my decision, I will not be able to attend an accepted students day, tour my campus, or shadow a class before the semester starts. I know many people that hadn’t chosen their school and were relying on those last few tours and visits to help them make a decision but now they are doing virtual tours and are supposed to make a decision that will cost them thousands upon thousands of dollars. I also have classmates who hadn’t even heard back from colleges when the distance learning began. Although our world’s may have temporarily stopped, the tuition bills and road to college are not stopping with us.

I am thankful myself and my family are safe and healthy and am so grateful for the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are working and risking their lives daily for the care of others. My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by this pandemic and I hope that we can come out of this even stronger than we went in. I also want to say thank you to Gov. Murphy for his hard work and dedication to keeping our state safe. Although things are tough for me, I know that things may be tougher out there.

I am overwhelmed at the idea that I may never step foot in my school building again as a student. I hope to see my classmates again soon. As the class of 2020, we are all going through this challenge and experiencing the pain of having these things and experiences being taken from us. All we can do though is stay inside and abide by the rules set forth by our local and state governments to do what we can to keep ourselves and others safe.

Paige Bathurst