Hi, I’m Jill Getty. I am a senior at Radnor High School, and I think it’s fair to say that this school year has not gone as my classmates and I expected. When the school year began in September, I was thrilled about what was supposed to be one of the best years of my life. I looked forward to senior classes, my final sports seasons, and college decisions. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, my life as a senior has been flipped upside down.
When spring crew began in February with the start of outdoor water practices, I could not be more excited about the season that I’ve waited three and a half years for. Much to my dismay, our coaches announced in early March that our boathouse and school would be closing to ensure our safety. My heart sank. I vividly remember walking into the locker room after that practice and seeing all my teammates who were absolutely crushed, especially the seniors.
Although I felt devastated and defeated, I knew that being a captain meant I would have to stay strong for the majority of the team who still have more seasons to come. The team and our years together have been one of the biggest aspects of my life; it was very hard saying goodbye to Radnor Girls Crew Club months before the end of the school year.
In addition, the pandemic has made college decisions much more complicated for most seniors. I was lucky enough to have made my decision early, but many of my friends were still deciding when restrictions began. I can’t imagine the pressure of making a decision without being able to go on visits. Many colleges extended their decision deadline to June 1 instead of May 1, which will hopefully help some students. To me, virtual tours aren’t the same experience as visiting the campus, observing student life and talking with professors or tour guides.
I’ve worked extremely hard over the past four years to be able to walk down the aisle in a cap and gown and have my parents take my picture and applaud as I get my diploma. Not having a high school graduation is hard to think about, along with other senior-specific events such as prom, senior prank, and senior barbecue.
The hardest part thus far for me has been trying to stay positive. I don’t even remember my last day of high school! My final crew practice was in March. On top of it all, I haven’t seen my friends in months.
To stay positive, I talk with my friends, teammates, coaches, and fellow seniors who are in the same position. We are supporting one another, which has really helped me get through this. I’ve been spending time with my family learning new games, taking walks, and going for bike rides. I’m grateful that we are together and healthy. Also, I’m grateful that I’m still able to connect with church through StudentServe and Sunday gatherings via Zoom.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. On the positive side, the pollution levels worldwide have decreased dramatically, wildlife is currently thriving, and I hope this temporary turnaround encourages more change. This aspect makes me happy, and I believe this is God’s work. Having my senior season cut short has shown me how important rowing is to me, and I have decided this season won’t be my last one. I will be continuing my rowing career by joining the competitive club crew team at Penn State University, which is exciting to think about.
I’m looking forward to the future beyond this pandemic, not having to wear masks in public, and being able to hug people and shake hands. I stay hopeful that life will return back to normal as we ease out of quarantine next month.