Making the best of it

Tales from an incoming freshman

By Liza Flandreau, Collegian Contributor

As a member of the high school class of 2020, I am very used to “making the best of it” by now. When school shut down in March, I quickly accepted it. I knew that the health of my classmates and teachers mattered more than the personal disappointment of my senior year being cut short. Soon, two weeks turned into two months. Prom, senior events and my senior choir performance, everything got cancelled. I turned around with a strained smile and told myself and my family that I was okay. Of course, I was upset, but I couldn’t let my dismay take away from keeping people safe.

It wasn’t until I walked – for the last time – through the halls of my school to empty out my locker and return my books, that I allowed myself to cry. And even then, not until I was back inside my car. Up until now, I had always been able to find some semblance of a “bright side.” Even through the disappointment of senior year being cut short, I was able to pull myself up and look towards the future for something better. Until I wasn’t.

Ever since I was a little seventh grader, I had had a ten-year plan of how high school, college and beyond would go. I would be lying if I said this plan didn’t change multiple times, but I ultimately knew what I wanted. I dreamed of the day that I would move into my college dorm room and start the next chapter of my life. As I watched my older sister move into her school, I held on to the fact that in two years, that would be me.

Now, I sit here, writing this piece in a makeshift study room where I will be spending the foreseeable future. I won’t be decorating a dorm room or going to any welcome parties. The nerves I feel during my first class probably won’t read through a computer screen. My “first day of school outfit” consists of sweatpants and a nice t-shirt.

Though I can’t shake the feeling that all of my hard work has led up to essentially nothing, I can say this: it is okay. This year will not be what anyone wanted – not seniors in high school, not freshmen in college, not the teachers. However, this year will be one that everyone will remember. It will be one that I will look back on as I move my own kid into college someday. It will be one where my motivation, drive and ability will be tested. It will be one where I will probably be disappointed more times than not, but despite that, I am here. We are all here. Every student, teacher and parent who has pushed through these hardships can say that.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very much heartbroken. As a self-proclaimed nerd, who truly looks forward to learning and expanding my knowledge, I could not be more devastated. But I take solace in the knowledge that I’m not alone. While that doesn’t fix our present situation, it certainly helps. And, as always, I will make the best of it. I will do everything possible to mirror my dream first-year experience through a computer screen.

If I have learned anything so far, it is that school is what you make of it. You get out what you put in, and I am going to put in as much time and energy as possible. This is my first year of college; this is a new start to the rest of my life. In five years, this experience will be another story to share with future students. And that is something to look forward to.

This year I have held onto my favorite quote by Robert Frost: “in three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” As I start my first week of classes, I know that life will go on and we will eventually make it out of the disappointments. And, as always, I plan to make the best of it.


Liza Flandreau is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]