This is just not normal.
I don't say that to sound like every television commercial. Those commercials attempt to tug at the heartstrings, and that is not the intention of this writing.
When I opened the door of my classroom on Wednesday (May 13), it occurred to me that I had just stepped into a time capsule. At the very least, it was a room frozen in time.
In the northwest corner were group projects, just started, with K'Nex building materials in various states of execution. Students had just begun designing the ideal clubhouse with the plastic pieces, the last week we were in school. Now, the unfinished structures testified to the abruptness of our departure. Nearby was a calendar, stuck on March. As I turned the page to May, I had to linger on April and dream of the experienced our classroom family missed during all the time that has passed.
In the opposite corner was our skeleton friend, still on the wall with his backpack, tie, and hat. It's ironic that he has also worn that mask for so long. He has always been prepared against invasive airborne particles.
Of course, it is not just our room that is a time capsule. Other rooms across the country and around the world have also been stuck in this condition, teachers disallowed from entering them after school was called off for the last quarter of the year for a viral pandemic. The hallways are full of old bulletin boards and rooms with reading books still out on tables. The room across the hall still has snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.
My classroom was a time capsule.
Having said all of that, I also understand that this period of time has not been lost. It has been an experience that few populations have ever experienced in the past. Life is an adventure, a collection of chapters that happen to us and chapters that we write ourselves. For the graduate, the people getting married, and nameless others, this is not a time of loss, but a unique story that can be told. While you may miss crossing the stage with pomp and circumstance, no other living graduate has your story, your perspective. In this, you have been given a gift of memory and nostalgia that will last until you perish, something to share with your descendants for ages to come.
Do not discount the value of such a gift; cherish it instead. Find a way to make it interesting and memorable. Stop focusing on the things you are missing and zoom in on the things you are experiencing. Be creative - not with the facts, but with the experience. Life is an adventure, and this is a chapter in a much longer book. Save your experiences. Savor your experiences. And while I say we should learn from historical events, I also like to say that we should keep moving forward, keep making progress, keep improving, and never, never give up hope.
Time capsules are always put into place with purpose. What time-capsule memories will you save and savor now?