Op-Ed: COVID-19 Changes College Celebrations

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Gator File Photo

Banners in the college counseling office. Gator file photo.

Zoe Kaplan, Senior Writer

Throughout COVID-19, people have faced both losses and excitement. However, with everything going on today, it can feel hard to be proud of one’s accomplishments.

Specifically, it can be challenging for high school seniors to know whether to celebrate their college acceptances or not bring attention to them. Getting into a college is a big deal, but how much does that matter when a pandemic is killing people everyday? Does it still make sense to celebrate accomplishments as normal, or should students not draw attention to themselves?

Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Celebrating the good things that come in life is important for mental health and can improve self-confidence. The hard part is balancing how to celebrate while respecting everything else that is going on.

Before the pandemic, I thought maybe I would go out to dinner to celebrate my acceptances, or maybe go to see my grandma and surprise her with the great news. Now, my plans have changed, and I am honestly not sure what I will do to celebrate the next phase of my life.

The importance of getting into college is still there for me, but I have realized that the lives being taken by COVID-19 are more important than my desire to celebrate good news. I understand how disappointing it can feel to have plans change or to have to adjust your expectations, but I ask everyone to make smart choices for the people around us.

I hope that getting into college still feels like a positive thing, and that seniors can learn how to celebrate in safe, new ways. I might not get to celebrate my acceptances the way I originally planned to, but if I can help the people around me stay safe, I am more than happy to make some changes.

I want to remind everyone that is okay to be excited about something and still recognize that there are hardships still going on in the world. In the long term, doing the right thing for the people around us will be worth it.