Johnson: Dear Class of 2024

Grace Johnson, Staff Columnist

Dear Class of 2024,

This has been an interesting past 15 months for us. We graduated high school during a pandemic, started college and are now finishing off this year with vaccinations and a hope that next year will be different. 

Next year will be an entirely different experience than the one we just went through. We don’t know what college is really like. We don’t know what it’s like to walk across that stage at a graduation ceremony and have our friends and family cheering us on. We don’t know what it’s like to be independent adults on our way to the next stage in our lives.

We are going to learn together, though. 

If anything, we have shown our resilience through a heartbreaking senior year and final summer before adulthood. We adapted to online schooling and, for some of us, had to completely change plans for our futures. Some of us got hit really hard financially as a result of the pandemic. Some of us lost people we loved. Some of us are still struggling to figure out what being an adult is all about; in some ways, we are incredibly ignorant of the dealings of the real world. Some of us, though, had to grow up way too fast in order to fill in the missing gaps created by incredible loss and heartbreak through the past year.

I would like to take this opportunity to say good job and good luck. As a member of the class of 2024, I see you, I hear you and I am with you. I didn’t have a high school graduation and I am still struggling with allowing myself to make plans, given that the world has shown us how volatile the future can be. 

I’ve learned to accept and acknowledge that plans don’t always work out how we want them to, but that what’s supposed to happen will happen. I was fortunate enough to be able to come to campus for my first year of college, and for that, I am so grateful. I recognize that some of you reading, though, did not have that opportunity. 

However, I will be the first to tell you that next year, those who were already here for their first year will be learning the same things at the same time as you. We also don’t know the thrill of rushing from one quad to the next in order to be on time for class, or attending in-person study sessions and office hours. 

All of these challenges aside, I appreciate the strength of this class. We are constantly learning and growing together as a whole, no one really has a leg up on anyone in terms of college life or expectations. We’re all new to this and we’re all trying to find our way at our own pace and through our own eyes. 

Remember: none of us are alone in this swirling confusion that is adulthood. 

As they sang in “High School Musical,” “We’re all in this together.” I want us to remember that we are all incredibly capable and resilient to the challenges that life decides to throw our way. But we are also team players and should never have to feel as if we are alone in this journey. 

We got this, guys. There’s truly a light at the end of this pitch-black tunnel. 

I look forward to seeing what we can all accomplish together over the next three years at Case Western Reserve University. I have a feeling it’ll be pretty amazing. 

Congratulations on making it through this past year.