A thank you, and a few questions


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A thank you, and a few questions

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I attached a letter I wrote to my senior year English teacher and forwarded to the administration after my high school canceled the rest of my in-person school year in March 2020. When reading it, the reader should specifically acknowledge the timeline and therefore lack of information surrounding the pandemic, as well as the personal memories incorporated. This letter houses pent-up frustration, unfiltered emotion, and a lack of education surrounding the pandemic. As an 18-year-old who just lost the remainder of her senior year, I cater to selfish and emotional tendencies. The reader should recognize that I composed this letter before the CDC, scientists, and government disseminated lots of information and education about the virus, so it embodies the unawareness and confusion that surrounded the pandemic. Aside from that context, the reader should acknowledge the remembrances incorporated into the letter – through imagery and specific quotes, my memories and mourning become more internalized. Clearly, these images and memories can only be understood by members of the high school class or close peers. However, these details such as “alter ego outfit”, “alpha omega day”, and “mudslide” speak to personal experience during the pandemic and allow for my specific outlook.
The letter I wrote bears lots of significance on my experience during the pandemic by allowing me closure and unleashed emotion. As a senior in high school when the pandemic hit, I never received closure with teachers, classmates, sports teams, etc. This letter gave some semblance of finality with my school’s administration and allowed me to express my concerns in an unfiltered fashion. Although reading the letter itself a year and a half later allows me to reflect on my emotions, the experience of actually writing the letter will never leave me either. I sat at my laptop, brainstorming what to write for an English busy-work assignment. I found it difficult to care about school anymore, after I had committed to Vanderbilt, and school moved to zoom. But, quickly, putting my feelings to paper resulted in an outpouring of passion, both positive and negative, and I cried, not sure why. Rereading the letter, as embarrassed as I am about my trivial concerns, I still return to the place of uncertainty, anger, and volatility. Even though I expressed lots of shallow ideas, the letter still bears relevance to me, as I’m proud of my honesty and vulnerability during that time.

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This item was submitted on September 16, 2021 by Caroline Lingle using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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