EDITOR’S NOTE: Cassidy Huff is a senior at Mt. Rainier High School, as well as an accomplished singer and songwriter. In 2016, she was named “Citizen of the Year” by the City of Burien.

These times that we’re living in are so strange. Strange is an understatement at this point. The world has seemed to have completely shut down, the days are going by at rocket speed, people are reaching out to you that you haven’t spoken to since the third grade, sweatpants are more of an everyday attire, and people are putting on full faces of makeup just to walk around the block.

Being a high school senior through this is even weirder. It seems that everything that we’ve been dreaming of since we were little like senior night, spring sports seasons, last practices, the last day of school, the elementary school walk in your cap and gown, taking pictures with your friends after graduation, senior breakfast, your graduation party, and most importantly, graduation, have been snatched away from us.

Throughout this quarantine, I’ve gone through a lot of emotions because of all of these things being taken away from us.

Denial: This is probably the most common reaction at first. You don’t want to believe that all of this hard work that you’ve put in for the last twelve years isn’t going to be celebrated. Yes, there will be alternatives, but they won’t be the same.

Frustration: This whole situation is frustrating! There’s no denying that. And you have EVERY right to be frustrated. No one has any answers and everything is constantly changing.

Acceptance: You have to look at the facts. Our events were taken away from us. And I know this is the last thing you want to hear right now, but there are much worse things happening in the world right now.

Gratitude: This took a couple weeks for me to get here. But look around, you’re alive, you’re healthy, and you’re loved. Make a list of all the things that you’re grateful for in this moment. Maybe it’s as simple as being able to play with your dog, or fresh air. Whatever it is, there ARE still things to be grateful for!

There is some good news in all of this! People are coming together from all around the world. For the first time ever, everyone in the world is doing the exact same thing right now! Think about how cool that is. We are all realizing that just because we live in different countries, speak different languages, and look different, we are all the same in the sense that we all need human interaction!

As much as it may feel like it, you’re not alone. Although everyone isn’t a high school senior like we are, they can sympathize. And there are programs out there online for seniors! For example, there are several “Adopt A Senior” programs where a parent can “adopt” you and send you things in the mail! I just got a couple things and I was so touched that somebody who doesn’t even live in the same state as me, or know me at all, still took the time to think about me and send me something!

Times are tough right now, for everyone. But you’re not alone! You’re loved, and you’re seen. I’m sorry your senior year was ruined, but there IS light at the end of the tunnel! And we’ll all get there together!