I come to you from probably one of the toughest, lowest times of my life. I’d like to say that if sitting at home, healthy, with an internship that still pays me to work from home, and professors that have done everything to make this transition easier on their students, is the hardest time of my life, I’m pretty lucky. I’ve tried so hard to look at it from that perspective.
It’s painfully ironic that my most recent blog was about the beauty of escaping your college town and how getting out can be rejuvenating. Right now, I’d give just about anything to go back to Carolina and the stressful lifestyle I once possessed.
I already knew it was going to be tough saying goodbye to UNC, but I had no idea that it would come so soon. All of the things I’ve waited four years for: my final dance marathon with Carolina For the Kids, my Carolina Tap Ensemble and Blank Canvas dance company senior showcases, senior week, graduation; all stripped away from me one-by-one before my eyes.
This probably sounds so selfish and insignificant given the current status of society. But I can’t help but to be distraught over losing all of the ceremonious landmarks that I’ve dedicated so much of my time and energy to achieve. This is so far from how I imagined I would go out.
As college seniors, we’ve all ironed out where our passions lie and who our friend groups are. We’ve worked tirelessly to earn executive board positions within our organizations. In those positions, we’ve spent all year planning our major events, most of which were supposed to happen this spring. Not being able to see those hours of planning come to life or celebrate your successes alongside your fellow seniors is heartbreaking beyond anything I can put into words.
As president of Carolina Tap Ensemble, I had to send the dreaded email that our showcase had been cancelled. I waited until this past Sunday – almost two weeks since campus changes were announced and six days after UNC forced all on-campus residents to move out. We were probably one of the last events of the semester to officially cancel, but I wanted to be completely certain that there was absolutely no other alternative.
The point of this post really isn’t to seek sympathy or let out my grievances. This is nobody’s fault, and everyone is struggling in their own ways to cope with the new lifestyle we call social distancing. My point is to emphasize the importance of cherishing the time you have and encourage optimism even in the deepest of lows. I’ve had a hard time seeing the bright side in all this, but I’ll start here.
My 3.75 years at UNC were amazing – so good that when I was forced to leave, it ripped me to shreds. I still got to participate in three dance marathons, three CTap shows, and seven Blank Canvas shows. Those memories are ones that have become even more near and dear to my heart in the past few days. I will forever treasure the time I spent at UNC, the people I met, and the organizations that made me a better person.
College survival tip #13: Acknowledge your accomplishments and take pride in your success, no matter how they come to an end.
I truly hope that no future college senior has to experience anything like this ever again. But I think there are things to be learned from this that are universally applicable.
Whether it’s in your control or not, you’re bound to run into some hiccups during college. Try your best not to harp on the things that didn’t go as planned, but to celebrate the ones that did.
While I would trade the world to be able to sit in Kenan Stadium with my best friends on May 10th among a sea of Carolina blue, it could be much, much worse. I could’ve ended up at a school I hated counting down the days until I got to walk across the stage because it meant I was finally free. I could’ve spent four years sporting that hideous shade of darker blue around an ugly campus eight miles down Tobacco road (couldn’t keep this post too deep, GTHD).
I could’ve done a lot of things wrong, and it would’ve made losing my last two months of college a lot easier. But it also would’ve made those 3.75 years I did get a lot less magical. So here’s to the class of 2020, who’s been through a heck of a college experience, but will certainly come out stronger because of it.