How to Celebrate Your Senior Year when Prom and Graduation are Cancelled
By Olivia Rawley, College Now AmeriCorps Career Pathways Coach
One thing that I have noticed during this COVID-19 crisis is that everyone is grieving over a loss in some form. This grief looks different for everyone, but after talking to the seniors that I work with personally at College Now, and discussing this with fellow advisors, it seems that our senior students are stricken over the loss of their prom and graduation.
Seniors, I am addressing you in this blog post: You have every right to feel robbed over this loss. High school graduation and prom are life milestones. These are things you talk of wistfully when you are younger: “When I graduate high school…” “On my senior prom night…” I’m sure many of you already bought a dress/suit for prom night, probably having spent a lot of money investing in one of the most special nights of your high school career.
As for graduation, it is the pinnacle of your high school achievements. You can walk across the stage, receive your diploma, and tell yourself that you have endured the trials and tribulations of high school so that you can revel in that moment; it’s a step toward your future.
I say all these things to reinforce why these events are important, and why it is important to make the most out of this time in your life with what is available to you. In times like these, we have to think about what we can do instead of what we can’t do. So, how do we work within the parameters of the “new normal?”
It’s time to get creative.
I keep telling myself how grateful I am that this pandemic now instead of even a decade ago – there are so many different technologies in place now that enable us to stay connected with each other! That’s why I hate the term “social distancing;” It’s not social distancing, it’s physical distancing. Now, more than ever, we need to be in contact with our network and community. What can you do to stay connected and share these special events?
- Get on a Zoom chat with all your friends and dress up in your fancy prom attire and have a dance party in your living room.
I know it may seem silly to dance in your living room by yourself, but if everyone is doing it, what does it matter?
- Have a backyard graduation ceremony and put it on Facebook Live!
Invite family, friends, and neighbors, but follow the necessary public health advice (six feet apart and no groups larger than 10). And, the people who can’t attend can view it on Facebook Live!
- Make sure to share your accomplishments with friends and family.
Get on Zoom with your fellow graduates and make sure everyone has an opportunity to share what you all have accomplished in high school, and also what you hope to do moving forward. Once you’ve talked to your friends, sit down with your family for a nice dinner and share what you and your fellow students have discussed. That way, everyone can be recognized for their accomplishments!
I hope this list helps in some way, and I am sure there are many other ways that you can use technology to your advantage to make the best out of your last moments of high school. Take this time to be innovative and to persevere. We can always choose how to respond to the obstacles put in front of us.
Until next time,
High School Seniors: How Can You Stay On-Track with Your Goals While School is Closed?
By Olivia Rawley, AmeriCorps Career Pathway Coach
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Monday afternoon that Ohio schools will not be returning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement, along with the whole country being virtually shut down at the moment, and with only vague plans as to when things will reopen again, has bred much uncertainty. I am sure that this uncertainty has led to a whirlwind of feelings like panic, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger, just to name a few.
All those feelings are valid – and I sympathize greatly – but we cannot let our fears overwhelm us to the point where we are not looking to the future. Even though we are quarantined inside our homes, and all the events we have been looking forward to are been canceled indefinitely (RIP graduation and prom!), life does not stop. Decisions still need to be made that are aligned with your post-secondary goals.
The question is: What you can be doing now so that you are still on track with your goals?
- Make an appointment with your College Now advisor.
Your College Now advisors are still working hard to maintain contact with you, their students, while schools are closed due to COVID-19. We are here to help with any post-secondary plans or career goals, as well any social/emotional support that you may need. If you are unsure how to get into contact with your advisor, contact College Now’s office directly and a College Now employee will be able to offer guidance. You can call the office at 216.241.5587 or email [email protected].
- Contact your prospective universities.
It is important that, as a graduating senior, you contact the universities that you have applied and/or may apply to to get an update on your application, or what you need to do to apply. Contacting your prospective universities also gives you an update on changes made due to COVID-19. Many universities have already postponed decision dates and application deadlines.
- Do your FAFSA! Really, just do it.
During a time when we are all in need of some sort of safety net, the FAFSA can be that for you. The FAFSA ensures that you have the funding you need if you plan to attend any university or trade school in the fall. Also, it is not binding—just because you fill out the form does not mean that you have to accept the loans and/or grants that you may receive to put toward your education. It’s there if you need it!
- Build a “quaroutine.” (Get it?)
Excuse the quarantine humor. You may be reading this and wondering how building a routine applies to your post-secondary goals. Well, it does. I can imagine that, since quarantine has started, many people have had the desire to lounge on the couch all day watching bad reality TV. It would make sense if you’re doing this day-in, day-out, that your goals might seem very far away. Therefore, a routine built around good habits will help you to feel more productive in your everyday life. This has a domino effect, making it so that you’re productive in other areas of your life, like making progress on your post-secondary goals! Make sense?
- When all else fails, make a list!
I know #5 is a bit “meta” considering I am writing a list right now, but I would encourage you to make your own personal list! A visual aid can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed thinking about all the things you need to get done. I would recommend when making this list to let yourself “free write.” Meaning, try not to monitor what you’re putting on the page. You can always take things off the list later if you find them to be unnecessary. (And be sure to consult with your College Now advisor if you’re unsure of what you need to be including!)
I hope this list gives you clarity on what you should be doing to make progress on your post-secondary goals. And remember: there is always a College Now advisor that would be happy to assist if you run into any difficulty. Continue to check our blog for more posts about how you can still prepare for post-secondary virtually.