By Lauren Thorburn

Special to the Santa Ynez Valley Star

As a graduating senior this year, it has been difficult to come to the realization that high school is essentially over at this point. Everyone has been dealing with this situation in different ways and I would like to think, for the most part, that I have been doing well. I went through three stages of emotions once I officially realized that the rest of my senior year was going to be an unconventional and novel time in my life. The first stage was denial. I kept telling myself that everything will go back to normal before the end of the school year, and that we would all be able to attend Prom, Grad Nite, and Graduation. This stage felt like a strange limbo, as no one knew for certain how everything was going to pan out. 

Lauren Thorburn
Photo contributed

Once I had accepted that nothing was ever going to be “normal” again, I moved onto the next stage which was lack of motivation and anger. I put both of these emotions in the same stage because they occurred simultaneously while I was stuck at home. I asked myself, “what is the point to keep hoping for something that has a high possibility that it will never happen?” Furthermore, I was annoyed that this had to happen this year. Why 2020? During this stage my mentality was just to get senior year over with: attend the classes I needed in order to receive desirable grades, and then move on with my life. However, after about a week of feeling sorry for myself, I knew that there was a better way to look at this situation. 

So, I moved onto the third stage which I call creative optimism. This stage was when I began participating in zoom games nights, or hosting Netflix parties. This stage was when I began trying to see the positive among the negative. There is a quote by Dr. Suess that has been helping me cope with all the emotions I have been feeling, it goes “don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.” I have used this quote before, such as when I moved from Zimbabwe, Africa, to California, or when someone close in my life has passed away or moved to another country. However, I believe that this is the most important time that I will 

ever use this quote. It serves as a reminder that when I will look back at this experience in ten, twenty years, there were good times even though bad things were happening. 

Throughout my entire high school adventure I have learned incredible lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life, and this quarantine does not define my high school experience, it only adds to the lessons I have already learned. Good will come out of this, that is something I can say with confidence. Although I have been trying to remain positive about this situation, I am still quite upset about not being able to have a traditional high school graduation, like the one my brother had just short of a year ago. I may never be able to walk down the football field surrounded by my entire graduating class, former teachers, and family members from far and wide. For me, to be able to have the full “American” high school experience was something I was really looking forward to doing. Being able to throw my cap in the air and take pictures with all the graduating seniors, as well as the underclassmen that I was leaving behind, is important for me. I know that no matter what type of graduation will be planned this year, it will be one that will not be soon forgotten. It feels quite strange and humbling to literally be making history this year. 

Lauren Thorburn will be attending Chapman University in the fall majoring in media and film studies. We will her all the best as well as the entire Class of 2020.