As the Editor in Chief of The Highlander, I have the opportunity and privilege to release my final thoughts and experiences as an editor. In February, I had typed out a few thoughts on why being editor was important to me. However, once quarantine began, I deleted that document, as I believe sharing my thoughts on being a senior during this time is more relevant and important.

My whole life, my childhood has felt as though it went by at rapid speed. Going into senior year, I was under the impression that I, along with my other classmates, would be able to slow time down and put a proper ending to an 18-year era. However, that was quickly taken away from us, and we were locked in our homes, away from the 200+ people we basically grew up with.

At first, it was difficult to grasp, as senior year was coming to a close, and we were imagining having a magical summer. “Summer 2020 is going to be a movie” is a phrase I commonly heard. As it turns out, 2020 has become somewhat of a horror film.

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So why is this important? College seniors are forced to enter a job force with a severely high rate of unemployment. Senior citizens are at risk of death. In perspective, my issue is not the end of the world, and health is the number one priority in my mind. However, having senior year of high school gone without being able to appreciate it fully has taken a toll on me.

I’ve grown up among this graduating class. I’ve seen them grow into themselves, change for better or worse, and become the individuals they are today. It suddenly hit me that I will no longer be working or walking alongside some of these people ever again. The 18 years of maturing is all I will see, and their lives will continue without me.

I am fortunate enough to be in a very close friend group of 12 boys. Having my childhood in that group has done wonders for me, and made me into the person I am today. I also played baseball all my life and made my best friends on the diamond. The fact that I never got to close either of those books properly really hurts me inside.

I guess what is really bothering me during these tough times is the fact that I never got to finish my childhood. It goes by so quickly, and once I was ready to appreciate it and savor the moment, it was taken from me. I was forced to become an adult faced with real world problems.

“A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys” is a line from “Puff the Magic Dragon.” The dragon is a metaphor in the song that represents a little boy’s childhood. The childhood lives forever, but eventually, the boy outgrows it and is forced to move on. This is especially relevant to myself, as I feel as though I was forced to give up my inner little boy too soon, and never got a chance to say goodbye to the dragon.

My advice to all high school students is enjoy every little thing you can. Something as simple as a hug or as monumental as a state championship. It all needs to be cherished. What these times have taught us is there is never a date set in stone when something can begin or end, so enjoy every day like it is your last. Don’t let your childhood come to a close without fully enjoying it. Because once it leaves, it never comes back.

To the class of 2020: we are more resilient than any class before us. Clearly, we can do anything. Although the kid in all of us departed prematurely, always keep that youthful spirit and energy in your minds, and remember to stop and enjoy the moment as much as possible.

I know the world will get out of this pandemic stronger and more united. The class of 2020 will be on the other side of life when it is over. But we can tackle anything, and I cannot wait to see what my peers do in the future.

My time as editor has been tremendous, and I am glad I have this platform to share my thoughts. I wish everyone the best of luck, health, and safety. That’s my time, thanks for everything GL. It’s been everything I could have wanted and more. Sam Bass: out.