Mourning the Loss of a College Senior Year

by an anonymous college senior

Being a college senior this year, I have already begun to accept that I probably won’t get any of my senior year. My school is trying to go back hybrid and actually seems to have a good, rigorous plan for testing, but I honestly see us getting sent home next month at the latest.

Over the past month or so, I have tried to start mourning these losses. I wanted to make it easier on myself for when things like fall sports, awards banquets and senior nights don’t happen. It’s been a long, arduous process and my family still doesn’t seem to understand why this is so hard for me. I mourning the loss aftertalk grief supportunderstand that I’m luckier than a lot of people. I’m not dying from this disease. I’m not losing my business from this disease. But I am losing my senior year of college, what is supposed to be “the best years of my life.” I am losing time with my friends. I am losing chances to make connections on campus that will make it easier to get a job once I graduate. I am losing milestones and events that classes before me had. I know that people say these things can also happen online, but it’s not the same. It bothers me that my family doesn’t get this.

My school originally postponed the graduation for the just passed class to early October. However, last month they cancelled it, saying it wouldn’t be safe to bring so many different people from so many different states back. This makes me nervous for our graduation. I can come to accept having a shitty senior year, but I want my graduation. I’m devastated that I may lose this as well.

Again, I know that I’m luckier than most. But I want to be able to be sad and grieve my senior year without feeling guilty or judged for it.

I don’t really feel like I’ve lost hope. The logical side of me knows that eventually this will end. But I have lost hope for my senior year, because even if we get a vaccine, it probably won’t be distributed before I graduate. It’s hard to think about back in February and how that’ll probably be the last time I’ll truly get to enjoy myself in college.

I know that masks and social distancing are going to be here for at least the next 2 or 3 years. I get it. We need to stop people from dying. But I’m starting to wonder at what point does the mental effects of this pandemic are going to become just as bad.

I’ve always had some degree of depression and anxiety. It’s not crippling or anything. Unless I told you about it, you would probably never know I had these problems. But over the last 6 months, my mental state has deteriorated so much. I’ve never contemplated suicide in the past, but over the mourning the loss AfterTalklast few months, the thought has crossed my mind several times (I’ve never really seriously considered it or made plans, but I definitely have thought about it). I know that as the stretches on longer and longer into the next few years, it’s just going to get worse. I imagine that just about everyone else is feeling the same way.

I get that these experts are trying to keep us all from getting sick and dying. But have they stopped to consider how bad the mental health effects are going to be? Especially as this continues to stretch into the next couple years at the absolute minimum. I’m not advocating that we should just stop social distancing and go back to normal life. But I feel like the mental health crisis that is happening along with the pandemic is being largely ignored. Has any expert stopped to think about this?

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