Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes. It’s supposed to mean that even the worst circumstances have some aspect of good about them. It’s just that though; an aspect. Yes, every cloud has a silver lining, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there’s still a big cloud looming overhead.
Maybe that’s cynical of me. It’s just that when I’ve often heard this idiom used, the speaker is trying to ignore the presence of the “cloud.” That doesn’t help anyone. Pretending everything is okay when it clearly is not doesn’t solve any problems.
All this to say, I’m in a rather cloudy season right now. (I usually hate when people talk about “seasons” of life but since I’m already using weather metaphors I’ll let it slide.) I am trying to find the silver linings, but the fact is that I am still sad, angry, and discouraged.
I’ve been going back and forth about writing this post for almost two weeks now. I don’t want to just be another voice on the internet throwing a pity party because life is terrible right now, but at the same time, I’ve always found writing to be one of the things that brings comfort. As for publishing it for all the world to see – well, I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll learn something along the way (but I make no promises).
For those who don’t know, I currently attend a college in central Pennsylvania. I’m in the final semester of my senior (fourth) year, which marks the end of my undergraduate career. I will earn a Bachelor of Arts in English in May of this year (2020). In addition to this, I work two on-campus jobs in two different administrative offices.
Another important piece of background information: Right now, March 2020, we’re dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, colloquially known as coronavirus. Non-essential business are closed down, and people are being asked (or ordered) to stay home. Nearly all colleges and universities in affected areas are transitioning to online classes for the rest of the semester, and many, if not all have cancelled or postponed their graduation ceremonies.
My college is no exception. A few days before leaving campus for spring break, we were told that we would temporarily have online classes until mid-April, and then resume in-person classes through the end of the semester. During spring break, we were informed that we would not resume in-person classes, but rather finish our semester online. Finally, at the end of spring break, we were told that graduation ceremonies would be postponed until further notice.
Now, to my school’s credit, all of this information was communicated to us in a timely manner that allowed us to plan and prepare accordingly. I know several of my friends at other schools did not have the same experience when their campuses shut down, since the COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly. That’s one thing I’m certainly grateful for.
But still, you can probably imagine that as a someone in her final semester of college, anxiously awaiting graduation, this all sucks. The months that were supposed to be the best of my college career have been stripped away from me. I’ve been removed from my friends, classmates, professors, work supervisors, and mentors – the people who have helped put a smile on my face and build me up. I won’t get to watch my campus come to life with the coming of spring, I won’t be able to celebrate my birthday in person with friends. I don’t know when I’ll be able to celebrate my graduation.
So yeah. You can see why, I’m sad, angry, and discouraged.
In a lot of ways, it’s grieving. I know that probably sounds silly, but I think we’re allowed to grieve for more than a loss of life. In this case, it’s a loss of time and a loss of closure – I won’t be ending my time at college the way I thought I would and the way I wanted to. The goodbyes I said to my friends and the people I work with before leaving for what I thought would be a month away are not the ones I wanted to have.
And I am not the only one. There are countless other college students like me, high school students who won’t experience their senior prom or graduation like they wanted, couples who are postponing their weddings or having impromptu ones, people who are losing jobs, getting sick, the list goes on.
In the middle of all this, I understand that I am still blessed in many ways. I am fortunate to have a family and a home where I feel safe. I am still able to work both of my jobs remotely and earn some income. I live in a time when I have access to technology, which allows me to complete my course credits and stay in touch with my friends from a distance. This list also goes on.
And yet, I still find myself grieving.
But I’m allowed to do that, aren’t I? I can recognize the good moments without ignoring the sadness. Just because I “have it good” doesn’t exempt me from feeling pain. What’s important is that I don’t stay there – that I don’t let the “clouds” completely overtake me.
Some days, that’s easier said than done. It’s still a lesson I’m trying to learn for myself. But just like everyone else, I’m trying my best. I will give myself time to laugh, time to be upset, time to enjoy the things I love, and time to take naps because everything is too much. I will overcome this. And if this messed-up world thinks otherwise, it’s got another thing coming.
So how’s everyone doing? What are you doing to keep your spirits up during this challenging time? Tell me at least one good thing that happened this week!
Until next time!