Lucy Barnum: Drive-Through Graduation

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YR Media’s Lucy Barnum is graduating high school this year, but instead of a sense of accomplishment, she’s left with a sense of loss.

I’ve been looking forward to my high school graduation since kindergarten. I remember my teachers dressed up in caps and gowns for Halloween and holding signs that read “Class of 2020.”

But because of the coronavirus, my senior year and graduation have been totally derailed.

Earlier this year, I had my school picture taken in a cap and gown with a golden 2020 tassel. I’ve had ideas for how to decorate my grad cap since last August. Besides graduation, I had a list of things I was doing to celebrate my last year. I was helping my friends plan our senior prank and skip day. I wanted to hit a home run in my final softball season and take prom pictures at the Palace of Fine Arts with my friends. But those things won’t be possible.

Now, we’ll have a “drive-through” graduation at my school’s parking lot. But it feels anti-climactic, and a little weird. It’s baffling to think my high school experience has culminated in Zoom classes instead of a real senior spring.


Earlier this year, I started mentally preparing to say goodbye to my last four years of personal growth. I’ve found lifelong interests and friends that have changed me for the better. I thought I’d get to sit in a classroom with my favorite teachers again. I wanted to eat lunch with my friends one last time, to laugh so hard my stomach hurt. I was looking forward to crying and hugging them at graduation.

But all those opportunities were cut short. My parting moments with classmates are long gone, and at the time I didn’t even know they were happening. My final goodbyes are now virtual and while I know being part of the class of 2020 will go down in history books, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.

With a Perspective, I’m Lucy Barnum.

Lucy Barnum is 17 and lives in Berkeley. Her Perspective was produced by YR Media.