It’s Not Goodbye—It’s See You Later

Dear high school seniors,

I wish I could give you back your ABC countdown, prom, and senior ditch day. I wish I could give you one last game under the stadium lights. You were cheated and robbed of some of the best high school moments. The sad truth is that no one can change the position you are in now. 

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

You can be upset, angry, and confused. I am, too. I was robbed of saying goodbye to my sixth grade students. The on-campus job I have worked for over three years came to a halt as my office closed. For months, I had been training to participate in the Illinois Marathon. Come May, I would have walked in graduation and received my diploma with campus honors. How could any words make up for the things we are losing? It’s hard to move on because we were also robbed of closure. Our hearts are breaking at the expense of the world’s health and safety. 

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

But with our loss comes a great opportunity.

We are now responsible for being the change. Our responsibility extends beyond ourselves; we have to take care of one another, support one another, and continue being flexible. We are young and adaptable; we are teachers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Life may be looking different these days, but the world won’t stop spinning. 

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Yes, we lost the better half of our senior year. But with our loss comes the gain of an even more exciting future. I’ve been in your shoes, so I can promise you that the next four years will be better than the last, and the years beyond that will be the best of your life. 

The truth is that, when this is all over, we will all see our world differently.

No longer will we take for granted a Friday night watching movies with our best friends or walking a mile for a $6 cup of coffee from a local cafe. We will all hug tighter, love harder, and smile more often. 

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

This will not be goodbye to life as we know it. This is see you later. 


Class of 2020
I am studying Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Sciences and Literacy in the College of Education. Although I now reside in Champaign, I am originally from Vernon Hills, a Northwest suburb of Chicago.


  • So proud of my granddaughter Rachel who has always shown maturity beyond her years. Listen to her words and you’ll be a better person because of them.

  • Thank you for such a “spot on” letter. As a parent I have felt each of these emotions as well. You are absolutely right Rachel, this unprecedented disturbance to our every day rituals has taught us a valuable lesson and we will come out of this on top. More grateful, more aware that each day should be appreciated and valued to the fullest.

    Best of luck and God speed to you,

  • Thank you so much for your kind words! Looking forward for a better future! Take care!

  • Thank you from a parent of a high school senior hoping she will get the campus experience come fall. Well said ❤️

  • Thank you so much for your letter and encouragement. My son is a freshman in UIUC 2020 Aultumn , I hope he is in the pursuit of UIUC, not afraid of difficulties, and Never forget his heart, always keep moving forward.