Natalya Hatfield
Natalya Hatfield

This is an end and this is a beginning. By no means is it the beginning of the end.

May 15, I said farewell to the essential building blocks of my senior year: my textbooks, library books and laptop. I no longer will walk the halls of Seneca High School as student, but as alumna if I wish to visit.

Like so many seniors, I feel as if this a bittersweet ending to our childhood. Senior year is the last milestone before you exit your teenage years and move into the real world. None of us could have predicted these drastic turn of events two months ago, yet they occurred nonetheless.

We will never be able to get back these stolen months; they will forever be burned into our minds as a time that we could not have. All of us missed out on prom, sports seasons, other after-school activities, and some seniors may not even have a graduation, according to the State Board of Education. In just a matter of months, everyone’s life has been completely torn apart and put back together in this new reality.

More than likely, there are going to be thousands of Americans who continue to wear masks after the pandemic has decreased. While the pandemic may die down, the paranoia will not. People need security in distressing times, and the mask provides a sense of safety. They may be uncomfortably warm at times, but it is a necessary evil when it comes to saving the lives of other human beings.

As for social distancing, that’s not going away any time soon. About a month ago, Harvard University came out with an article stating that some form of social distancing will be in effect until 2022. It’s possible that we could still have to stand 6 feet apart from one another in public places, such as restaurants and grocery stores. Although, grocery stores are difficult to navigate with these measures, due to narrow space in the aisles.

Maybe, once every state begins some form of reopening, masks will become mandatory nationwide in order to prevent the spread of the disease. With the current state of our government, I doubt that will actually happen, but it may have to if we don’t want to see another rise in COVID-19 cases.

A majority of Americans, or those who live in states that haven’t started to reopen yet, are feeling the pressure of cabin fever or something similar, which is understandable considering the circumstances. People can be kept indoors, only for a limited amount of time before they start to get angry and upset at their government, hence the protests violating social distancing guidelines.

However, there is light at the end of this dismal tunnel. Hope sits just on the horizon, and if we’re willing to wait, it’ll be worth every single day we’ve spent in isolation.

That metaphorical light comes in the form of a psychological theory: regression to the mean or regression toward the mean. Actually, this theory applies to several fields of science, but psychology overrides all of the others considering the current state of the world.

The actual definition of regression to the mean is mathematical, and no one wants that on their mind, so I’ll simplify it. The definition of regression to the mean is things can be really good or really bad, but eventually they will balance out to meet in the middle. If you’re a fan of the MTV show "Teen Wolf," you may have heard this before, and it’s where I picked it up from.

Right now, things are really bad and no one has ever seen the world fall apart like this. According to the theory, though, things will turn out for the better by balancing out and meeting back in the middle, where it’s neither bad nor good. This may seem illogical to think about when unemployment rates are rising, people are struggling to pay bills and rent, and families are starving, but it’s a small comfort in a world that has become a medical warzone. You realize that everything is going to get better, and it will. The world will emerge from the shadows, from this darkness that has surrounded us, and into a bright, more cautious, future. States will start opening up, people will find work again, children will be able to go back to school and visit their friends, and less people will be dying from this virus once a vaccine is found. We just have to remain patient and wait until the time is right to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

I will no longer be a senior in high school when this gets published, like the rest of seniors in the United States. Technically, I’m writing this on my final day as a senior, the day when I turn all of the school items in. No matter what we decide to do after graduation, whether it be college, military or going into the workforce, we will all be connected by this pandemic.

In 20 years or so, students and adults may look back on this time and not be bothered by it. We have lost so many lives due to this virus. So many innocent people have perished because a sick individual did not stay home. Heed the orders placed by the state government; they are there for your protection and others, as well.

My hope is that everyone, not just seniors, continues down their path and remembers all the death and destruction that COVID-19 caused, and that we have the power to stop it. It may be a struggle, but the power to stop this virus rests in our hands, and we alone decide how to wield it.

NATALYA HATFIELD is a senior at Seneca High School. She can be contacted via Assistant Editor Julie Barichello at jbarichello@shawmedia.com.

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