Goodbye And Good Luck: A Letter Of Encouragement To The Class Of 2020 From The Class Of 2021

As we all finish up our last assignments, prepare for finals, and bid adieu to Zoom University (hopefully) for good, it would be an understatement to say that we had a weird semester.

Two months ago, we were anxiously counting down the days until spring break, excited to come back to campus after a week of relaxation for the Blue-White game, 55 Days Of Café, and all of our other favorite warm-weather festivities that make surviving a State College winter so fun.

We ventured home for spring break and never came back. Instead, we finished the year spread out all over the world without a clue what comes next. Study abroad was canceled, internships were lost, and many Penn Staters’ futures became a big fat question mark.

And even though we’ve said it over and over since classes were canceled, we need to collectively pour one out for our seniors.

To the Class of 2020, the rest of this letter goes out to you.

For the Class of 2021, this year’s graduating seniors were among the first people we met when we started our freshman year in 2017. You were our older friends that we knew from high school, our older siblings, or maybe even just someone we sat next to in a gen ed three times a week.

You were the people who invited us to our first tailgates when we were clueless freshmen who had nowhere to go, and when we joined clubs and other organizations, you were likely the first ones we talked to about getting more involved. With that one year difference between us, you had a wealth of college experience to impart upon us that made it all seem a little less scary.

As we got older, your 21st birthdays were the first important birthday parties we got to go to, and we cheered for you as you stumbled off to the Phyrst and left us to make our way to Frat Row. You told us all about the bars and how fun it was, and when we finally made it to our own 21st birthdays, you were the first in line to buy us our first legal drink.

You have given us countless professor recommendations, class advice, and guidance on how to tackle applying for that first job or internship. From learning the ins and outs of important things like late dropping a class, changing your major, or even just something like weekly bar specials, you all have been here for every step of our college career. For the first time since we moved in three years ago, we will be experiencing a day at Penn State without you in it. It sucks.

To the Class of 2020, you began your college careers storming Beaver Field after Tyler Durbin was super reliable inside of 40, and you are the last class that will know what that felt like. You are the last folks old enough to have been inside Champs to see the Jonas Brothers, and you got to witness some pretty special bowl games and championships, too.

You may not have gotten the ending you deserved, but regardless of the lasts that were missed, we are so damn proud of you. You are our best friends, and it has been a pleasure to watch you grow from sophomores living in their first apartments to leaders that went on to leave their legacy on clubs, teams, and committees.

The only commencement more emotional than your own is the one that takes place the year before because now we know the people walking the (virtual) stage. It’s the end of an era.

And although we will definitely miss you and wish we could’ve said one last goodbye in person, the world will be better having you in it as real adults.

We Are, and you always will be, no matter how you graduate.

Your Friends,

The Class of 2021

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About the Author

Katie Moats

Katie Moats is a senior majoring in English, and her goal this year is to get a big girl job. Seriously, though, if you're looking for someone who can write and edit like nobody's business, she's Katelyn Moats on LinkedIn and will literally interview with you tomorrow. You can follow her @k_moats24 on Twitter for stupid content, but if it's something serious, feel free to shoot her an email (preferably in the form of a poem) to [email protected].

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