Grown adults are telling teens not to be upset that they aren’t getting a graduation and they need to STFU
As the coronavirus pandemic continues and social distancing has become our new normal, so many other normals have been cancelled or altered beyond recognition. Weddings, showers, reunions, trips, and countless other events have been postponed or fully reworked to adjust to the reality of pandemic life. Sadly, this includes the huge milestones of high school and college graduation.
2020 seniors have had to swallow the difficult fact that their final months in high school or college and their long-planned graduation ceremonies have gone up in smoke. But… what’s that? A bunch of grown adults think these kids should buck up and deal with it? That graduation is no big deal and they have no right to be heartbroken and disappointed?
Sit down, fellow grown-ups. It’s time we had a chat.
ABC News ran a feature today about how students are “devastated” to be missing out on their graduations as they’d expected them to be. Many schools are modifying the usual ceremony in order to be safer and less likely to spread the virus — this includes any number of virus-preventing solutions from virtual ceremonies to graduate-only gatherings with chairs spaced six feet apart and loved ones watching via live-stream. It’s not ideal. Let’s be honest, it 100 percent sucks for teens and young adults who worked for years to get to this point and envisioned the usual (actual) pomp and circumstance. Y’all, I’m tearing up just typing this and I don’t even have a senior of my own this year, but I do remember being one. These kids have every right to be upset, but naturally, the assholes of the internet disagree.
“Get used to life’s disappointments,” said the person who very likely got to walk across the stage while their family cheered them on.
“At least no one died!” said the idiot who apparently doesn’t understand that there are varying degrees of grief and disappointment and one doesn’t invalidate the other.
“Only I get to decide what’s devastating,” says another callous individual.
Sadly, I could’ve screenshot another 100 similar comments with very few voices of sympathy or support peppered in between. Is this really a thing? Are older folks who probably almost all got to attend their own actual graduations really telling these poor kids to suck it up and deal? It would appear so, and that’s pretty fucking ridiculous. I doubt any of these kids would say their graduation day loss is on par with someone dying of COVID-19 — but that doesn’t mean that losing out on graduation isn’t heartbreaking.
The thing is, I know some graduating seniors personally and while they are (rightfully) bummed, they’re also handling this with a strength and grace I absolutely did not possess back in 2000 when I walked the stage as part of the “Y2K” class. If someone told 2000 Me that I wasn’t getting my much-anticipated graduation day complete with adoring family in the audience, walking to receive my diploma, my classmates by my side and a weekend full of partying, I’m certain I would’ve crumpled into a corner and cried for a month straight.
But that’s not what I’m seeing here.
The parents of seniors that I know are posting adorable (albeit bittersweet) images of their gorgeous children in prom attire they never got to show off and dance the night away in, instead settling for photos taken in their own backyards. They’re taking pictures in their cap and gown, in front of the high school where they made all their memories, no one else around, but still smiling. They’re gamely wearing jokey “Quarantine Class 2020” t-shirts and grinning through what must be one of the biggest disappointments of their young lives. Did someone die? No. Does this still completely suck? Yup. Are these kids allowed to mourn this giant loss? You bet your ass.
So if you catch yourself rolling your eyes at a mom friend’s post about her devastated senior who won’t get the graduation day they’ve always dreamed off, quash that inner urge to tell them “it could be worse.” If you can’t be supportive, just STFU.