This morning, TIME Magazine released a special issue about the class of 2020 — a generation of high school students who are graduating to none of the traditional fanfare, bells, whistles, dances, parties, and celebrations — on what they are experiencing and how the massive shifts to daily life the pandemic has caused makes them feel. In a word, the kids seem, quite frankly, rather chill about the whole thing, trying to accept the uncertainty of our times and the massive shifts this pandemic has caused to their daily life. Teenagers in Montana, Buenos Aires, London, Brooklyn, Bordeaux, and Cape Town, South Africa, were interviewed on how they’re managing all of the shifts of their lives. The answers were illuminating, sad, and also, at times, quite heartwarming.
Louis, a 17-year-old Frenchman has found that music, of all things, has become his savior: “The bad days have helped me create some very sincere music. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that life will always be unstable. If you look at history, there have always been crises — moments of uncertainty and unrest. I think it’s about learning to live within them,” he says. The zen-ness of that statement is nearly mind-blowing for a 17-year-old who is missing the celebratory pomp and circumstance of graduating.
One North Carolina teen admitted how hard it was — and how much she would miss being in college, and feared not being able to have the traditional college experience — but is making the best of it that she can. A Venezuelan teen, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been living alone since her parents got stuck visiting Venezuela when the outbreak began. Another complained about the very real challenges of not having a stable internet connection and being able to let loose after being in an intensive school environment for seven semesters.
The kids miss school and their friends. A Cape Town teen said that she learned that “we can put a whole stop to the world and it will be okay.” Another athletic teen who skis semi-professionally detailed a trip he took while kayaking blindfolded: “The biggest takeaway was understanding the difference between perceived danger and actual danger, and being able to cope with the fear you’re feeling, but not let that control you or take over. You have to focus on the actual dangers that are there and be prepared. But it’s good to adapt and make the best of it.”
So, yeah, pretty zen stuff from a bunch of 17-year-olds. Maybe we can take a few lessons from these kids. Congratulations, class of 2020!