On looking forward

Marissa Lordahl, Photography Editor

Brunch out with friends in January of 2020. (Marissa Lordahl)

Graduating into a pandemic is not what any of this year’s seniors had in mind when they started their college journey. Assuming we continue online classes through the spring we will have completed a third of our college experience from behind a computer screen. This has meant missing out on a portion of what many movies like to characterize as the best years of our lives.

I briefly considered taking a quarter off but that idea was squashed when I realized that my classes are only offered sequentially and taking a quarter off would set me back a full year. And to be honest I had already committed to working with The Falcon and the comradery of the team is one of the main things that has kept me afloat even when it means late nights and less sleep.

As we head into 2021 I ponder how this experience will define our generation. Spending part of our most formative years during a global crisis will have an impact on how we process the world’s events for the rest of our lives.

Pike Place Market is nearly deserted during mid-day on March 11th, 2020. I traveled downtown to take photos I needed for a final project for one of my capstone classes. (Marissa Lordahl)

I wonder how we will place value on spending holidays and birthdays with our loved ones after celebrating many over video chat. I am curious how many young adults will process being left out of stimulus money and what impact will that have on our perception of the government? How do you respond when you are told you will not receive anything as a dependent and nothing is being given to those you depend on for supporting you through a pandemic? These are events that are impactful and I expect they will not be forgotten.

When I began college the economy was arguably strong and employment numbers looked favorable. Even so, I have always feared failure, that somehow I would graduate and fail to launch. My closest friends and family assured me that that was not a major concern, but the pandemic has certainly stoked those fears.

We have seen recent grads lose the jobs they worked so hard to get just a couple months after committing to them. Many of us, myself included, have had internships dissolve or disband, making the typical bridge into the workforce less accessible.

My Papa, Bert Hill, and my Mom sit outside of Merrill Gardens in Kirkland during a scheduled visit. (Marissa Lordahl)

To suggest that it is a difficult time to be a graduating senior is nothing new, but I think it deserves to be acknowledged. In the past few weeks I have seen many posts rejoicing putting this “weird” year behind us. Honestly, I do appreciate the milestone of ending 2020 even if it is mostly symbolic, however I also feel that we still have a long road ahead of us.

I have been overjoyed to hear of people receiving the COVID vaccines. My Papa, who lives in a long term care facility in Kirkland, is scheduled to receive his first dose in the next few weeks. I am eager for when he will be allowed to come and go from his home at his own will, a choice that has not been his since the first cases broke in another assisted care facility in Kirkland, Life Care Center. Over the course of the last nine months, my mom has done her best to call him every night, knowing that might be his longest conversation of the day.

As the year unfolds we will make progress, but it will likely be slow and it will not always be linear. Even so, I will rejoice in the small victories and be honest about the struggles we have faced.