As a part of Generation Z, the class of 2020 is mislabeled as selfish and self-absorbed. Though this can only be due to the events America has put us through in our lifetime. We were the first group to be born into a post 9/11 world. We grew up during the boom of smart technology. We started elementary school during the peak of the stock market crash. We entered middle school when the Boston bombing occurred, entered high school when mass shootings became the norm, and we’re graduating during a pandemic.
The accumulation of these events has made us numb to information. It’s not that we don’t care, but we almost expect it. Our entire lives, America has been at war, yet we never talk about it. Growing up, I thought it was normal to always have a war in the background, only later to find out it isn’t. Then as we aged, mass shootings happened regularly. There were 175 last year alone (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/). Hearing about these events not only makes us feel unsafe in one of the places we are supposed to feel the safest (school), but it has taken away our humanity.
Now in the final days of high school, and the final days of our childhood, we’ve once again been stripped of our humanity. We were told to do online school for a couple of weeks then everything will go back to normal. A couple of weeks later, 12 states have announced they will not reopen their doors for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year (https://www.washingtonpost.com). Not only can we not experience the last days of high school the traditional way, but we also can’t even see our friends, making us feel more isolated and vulnerable than ever.
Despite these events, we grew up with High School Musical, silly bands, Snapchat, the first Black president, and many medical advances. Though many of us cannot say goodbye to high school, we prevail.
Next time you want to call a member of the class of 2020 self-absorbed, just think about what kind of world we grew up in and the things we will never get to experience.