Missing my last day of high school and what I learned


Alison Goulding

A little, hot pink post-it note that was sloppily written the first day of senior year, now stands as a reminder for me to persevere.

On the first day of my senior year I wrote the date “May 22” on a hot pink post-it note and stuck it to my mirror. Everyday since, I glanced at it as I was getting ready as a reminder of what I was going to school for: graduation.

This hot pink post-it reminded me to persevere through every day of school I didn’t want to go.

My parents and I have always held an understanding that I am old enough to know when I am mentally and physically well enough to go to school, and when I am not, so I am very fortunate to even have the option to stay home when I choose to.

On March 13, I was feeling way too anxious about the COVID-19 situation in our country and chose not to go to school. That day, I did not get up, I did not look at my post-it, and I did not go to school. March 13 was the class of 2020’s last ever day of high school, and I missed it.

I don’t tell you this to make you feel sad for me, the rest of the senior class or the handful of other people in my grade who also missed this day of school. I tell you this so you can learn from it as I did.

I wish more than anything I went to school that day, even though I was not feeling up to it. No one knew it was their last day, and I’m sure all seniors were feeling like their world got turned upside down.

When I watched mayor J.B. Pritzker as he gave the announcement that I would never return to the halls of DGS as a student, I was devastated.

I’m sure all seniors were feeling this; the last few months of high school are supposed to be the best months of high school, and we missed out on that. In addition, I missed out on the last day of in class learning with my teacher, my friends and my peers.

Although I thought I was making a smart choice for my mental health, honestly, I think I still could have gone to school that day and been fine.

None of my teachers are having any Zoom calls on how to build a time machine, so it looks like I won’t be able to go back and change that. However, I can learn from it instead.

That day I should have looked at my post-it, reminded myself that my school would never do anything to put me in harm’s way, and that if I went to school and still wasn’t feeling emotionally okay to be there, I could have gone home. I wish I had gone to school, and I wish I had persevered.

Today, I still have that same hot pink post-it note stuck to my mirror. Graduation has been cancelled, and it no longer serves as a reminder of why I should go to school.

Instead, that tiny, little piece of glowing, pink paper lets me never forget to persevere.