Today, a calendar notification went off on my phone, telling me that from 11 AM to 7 PM, I would be able to get my senior photos taken. That I could walk down to the bookstore in my cap and gown, smile in front of a white background, tilt my head just a bit, move my tassel to the graduated side, and commemorate what I have done in the last 4 years. That I would be able to do the tradition that every graduating senior has done before me and will do after me.
Except, with quarantine, I won’t be participating in the same way. Instead, I will have a roommate take my photo with an iPhone, in my apartment, in front of the least decorated wall we can find.
Exactly a month ago, before my university went online, I was walking out of class with friends. Our school offers two days to pick up our caps and gowns and take out yearbook photos: that day and a month after.
We spontaneously decided to go. I mean, there was nothing better to do and it felt like something we should participate in as seniors. I was pimply and not looking my best that day, so I joined for just the caps and gowns and left them when they got in line to take photos. I put a calendar notification in my phone for the following month, on April 28th, to remember to go and take my photos then.
But, in actuality, when the alarm when off today, I was in my online class, listening to my professor choppily talk about statistical analysis. I was quarantined, along with most of the world, in my home, unable to go outside.
A few times since this new lifestyle has come about, I have been hit by the harsh reality that my school education is over without even a firework: when I first got the email that graduation was postponed; when people started posting their senior photos on Facebook and I knew I wouldn’t be taking mine in the same way; when family and friends asked about post-graduation life; when I started packing up my apartment and saw my cap and gown sitting in it’s shrink wrapped bag under a pile of books.
So, the realization today was no different, but still an unwelcome awakening. This time however, it was mixed with regret that a month ago, when I chose to not get my photo taken because of how I looked that day, maybe I should have just sucked it up and done it just so I could experience being a senior one last time.