By Calvin Lee, Mara Wanat, Maddie Olsen, Grace Speller

1. With fun senior activities such as prom and spring break potentially jeopardized by the coronavirus, it’s understandable that many seniors are upset. However, college students have it just as bad, if not worse, with the vast majority of them being forced off campus and back into their homes for online classes.

That being said, many college students can testify that physically going to college is a lot better than online school. Not only is learning more effective, but the experience is infinitely more fun. As such, one activity to look forward to once social distancing ends would be attending college. This may only be applicable to seniors who choose to attend college after high school.

College has a plethora of new things that high schoolers have never experienced. Different class settings, living alone, the hundreds to thousands of clubs/sports available, and the different people you’ll meet will make going to college a, at the very least, memorable time.

Following federal guidelines to combat the spread of the virus, college students have been made to go back home to take classes online via software like Zoom or Webex. According to an unnamed college student who is in the position described, “The virtual meetings work to get across information, but that’s about it. Being at home takes away everything from the college experience, and it’s not nearly as fun.”

Personally, this is the main thing that I look forward to. It helps to keep exciting things in the front of your mind to fuel your purpose during an unstructured day. Thinking about going to college can lift your spirits and motivate you to accomplish your goals, instead of binge-watching Netlifx for 3 days in a row.

Obviously, safety of ourselves and our community comes first, so social distancing and cancelling in-person classes is necessary. To get through this time, it’s important to have things to look forward to, and going to college is definitely one of them. With so many exciting things to look forward to about college, we should hope that our quarantined situation ends before the fall semester.

The beautiful college campus is something that students should look forward to.

A Decision Day car parade, senior slideshow, and graduation plans are still happening

2. For students of the class of 2020, these social distancing guidelines are taking away many moments of our last year with our peers. It’s extremely heartbreaking, but seniors still hold onto hope that we will resume normal senior year activities if and when we come back. Things like prom, senior slideshow, grad parties and graduation are moments that every kid would be devastated to miss out on. After many weeks in quarantine, seniors will be even more excited and appreciative of these farewell activities. For one, a final normal day of high school is something many seniors are most worried about losing. It’s possible that at this point we may never go back to high school. Without even knowing it, we might have said goodbye to our teachers and friends in March and never get to see them again. Our senior slideshow is also an important part of the end of our high school careers. Being able to see pictures of memories we’ve shared with our peers is so special. We’ve grown up with these people. And of course, prom. Senior prom is an iconic representation of the end of the high school era for teenagers. Seniors share one final night together. After losing so many weeks we could have been embracing with our friends and teachers, we will appreciate it so much more. For seniors and their families, graduation is also one crucial aspect of our senior year. A final congratulations for all the years of school that came before it. All the hard work is finally recognized. And finally all the graduation parties. It will be so rewarding to personally congratulate all of our close friends on their achievements and say farewell as they head on to college. All these amazing moments mark the next chapter of our young lives. For each and every single 2020 graduate, we just want our senior year back. We can’t wait for our senior year to start up again. 

3. Imagine Travel

Variety of images composited together of virtual escapes

During this time of the Coronavirus it is very hard to be able to travel. Due to the quarantine instructions and warnings put into place by local, state, and federal government, most are told to stay at home and are only to leave for essential reasons. Unfortunately, travel is not one of them. This virus is also able to spread rapidly and is able to travel through the air. That makes this disease very contagious. Travel involves coming into contact with many other individuals via your mode of transportation, where you are going to be staying once you arrive, where you are going to get your food, and more places that you are going to explore. Personally, I love traveling and I find it to be one of the enjoyable things I do. I love being able to be introduced to new experiences and cultures, and find traveling very enriching. Spring break was coming up, and is a time when many individuals travel. Many had to cancel their plans and that is very upsetting as vacation and travel is something that many people really look forward to. For seniors, this means that they are unable to go visit their potential colleges and campuses. This makes their decision just that much harder as they are unable to truly get a feel for what the college campus is like. I think that after everyone is ordered to remain in place and at their homes for this extended period of time, everyone will just be that much more eager to go out and travel the world and see and experience things that they have not before. Although some will be wary of travel and afraid of contracting viruses, disease, and illness, once a vaccination is put into place and once the fear of catching COVID-19 is gone, travel will be growing unlike ever before. The idea of travel and exploring the world also gives individuals something to look forward to and something to hope for. It gives people some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, and even if you look at pictures or watch some videos of other places around the world it can help one to envision that they are somewhere other than their own bedroom. 

4. Plan a Beach Day

You’ve been planning with your friends for weeks now. Tomorrow’s the day. It’s supposed to be sunny and 81 degrees. Your friend texts you about getting gas before you’re picked up. You’re going to be in the car with four friends, goggles, a raft, a cooler of drinks, and beach towels. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Everyone is awaiting the morning when they wake up and the nightmare of the coronavirus is over. Our freedoms will be restored- we will no longer have to social distance, our favorite stores will reopen, we will be able to travel, and the stresses of living during a pandemic will fade away. Even the experts aren’t sure when this faraway vision will become a reality, but we can all be sure that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

During this quarantine period, we have so many spare hours each day. Why not plan the best beach day of your life?

There are a bunch of local beaches within 50 miles of Amherst. Some require crossing into Canada while others are just south of us in Pennsylvania. Nearest to us is Hamburg Beach, only 25 miles away. The downside is that parking is only open to Hamburg residents and it can be difficult to find a spot in the surrounding area. Going south is Evangola Beach (part of Evangola State Park) which even has recently built new yurts if you wanted to stay the night. Neither Evangola Beach nor Hamburg Beach cost money, but if you’re looking for something with features of a resort for a good price, I’d recommend Sherkston Shores Beach in Ontario. Perhaps non-essential travelling bans will be lifted so that crossing the border becomes a possibility. Sherkston Shores Beach is on Lake Ontario which has much cleaner water than Lake Erie. It also flaunts four in-ground pools and a very large hot tub if you want to catch a break from the waves.

Personally, one of my favourite beaches, Presque Isle, is located in Erie PA. It boasts over 11 miles of beaches, a lighthouse, lagoon, and an environmental center. The beach is perfect for anyone who wants a day trip with their friends. On a beautiful day, it’s not too crowded. You can even grab a freshly glazed Krispy Krème donut on your way back! 

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