“Congratulations Graduates of 2020”. I have seen it on billboards, in shop windows, and on various other platforms typically reserved for different messages. These sentiments are an attempt to make up for the aspects of our graduation that have been cancelled or postponed, and I believe that they come from a place of kind sympathy. However, when I think about the experience of my class, the Grad Class of 2020, I find that what rises above those discouraged emotions is a deep sense of gratitude, or in this context, “grad-itude”.
That is not to say that I don’t sometimes feel like we were cheated out of our graduating experience, or that it doesn’t feel like a dishearteningly anticlimactic end to my five years at Brentwood, but rather that my sense of gratitude for my time at Brentwood far overwhelms those disappointments.
I am grateful, as I believe would be echoed by every single one of my peers, for my time at Brentwood: for the opportunities, the memories, the incredible faculty and staff, and for everything that makes Brentwood what we have come to know it as. For months, there has been a dedicated team of both students and faculty working tirelessly under difficult, fluctuating and unprecedented circumstances to design a graduation ceremony that is entirely different from anything that Brentwood has done before. Some results of their dedication include a drive-through graduation ceremony parade, care packages sent to every grad all over the world, and the commitment made to an in-person graduation celebration when it is possible to do so safely. As lifer and graduating student Aatya U, Allard 2020 put it, “Brentwood, overall, has been so much fun, and it’s so great that we can get a mini-graduation to make the moment official”.
As American author, journalist, and New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen once stated, “Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle”. So I encourage my fellow graduates to focus on all the pieces of the middle of their time at Brentwood rather than the ending, and remember that this is just a small fraction of the muddling in the “middle” section of all our lives. Remember that you are not alone, keep returning to the sense of grad-itude, and go on.
Sarah Richards, Mackenzie ‘20