The Valadez View

Virus got you down? There is still a positive outlook amidst a global pandemic.

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I feel like it was just yesterday that I had my kindergarten orientation, but I’m actually supposed to graduate in May. How this is real life, I don’t know. But I guess it is. And the most bittersweet part of it all is my senior year experience isn’t going to be anything like what it’s been cracked up to be.

Was I ever into sitting in the student section at football games? No. Do I like socializing in big groups in general? Not really. But COVID-19 has taken away all of these things and more, and it just feels unfair. But then again, most things in life are. So I’m trying my hardest to make the best of it. For starters, I’m writing this column. The first of nine columns this year, and it feels so weird. I’m the Editor-In-Chief of a publications staff that I can technically only see in person up to two times a week. Without The Journal in my life these last two years, I don’t think I would have survived. Sure, the stress has gotten to me at times. But the staffers who have very quickly become my people are so worth it. 

And feeling even the slightest disconnect between us all is disheartening. But we are working. Hard. And honestly, the sweat, tears (and hopefully no blood) that have gone into producing this entire issue have truly amazed me. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of such an amazing group. 

The motto of The Journal’s adviser, Mike Klopfenstein, is “Good work sucks.” Harsh, right? Not at all. Klopfenstein has never gotten anything so right. Because even in the midst of a global pandemic, The Journal is not merely good. We’re still great. 

I wouldn’t say we are untouchable, but sometimes it feels like it. Obstacles and barriers come up time and time again. And even though everything happening should knock us completely off our rocker, it hasn’t. And I think that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. 

This plays into other aspects of my senior year too. There aren’t dances to plan for or hallways to decorate for Student Council, but we’re still having fun. There’s not a big concert to look forward to in band, but we are finding new ways to learn and play music. I have to set aside time to apply to colleges, but I only go to school in-person two times a week. 

And all of this shows that the world really isn’t ending. At least not yet. There truly are positive ways for all of us to cope with the current state of the world. Whether it’s reminding ourselves of how far we’ve come, or that the little things are what matter, we’re still here. Showing up. Informing ourselves. And most importantly, being as safe as we can. 

Although everything feels extremely different, I’m not too unhappy about it, which is very unusual for me. Sure, my senior year isn’t what I expected, but that doesn’t mean it has to be worse than my previous expectations. The Journal is figuratively on its own two feet. I’m on my own two feet, which is very surprising. And that’s enough to make me smile.