Dealing with Disappointment in the Darkest of Nights

April 30, 2020

For the Class of 2020

After the initial hit of the news that we all had our college careers cut short and had to go home, emotions were very high, especially for me. Nothing has broken me more in my life so far than looking my friends in the eye and saying goodbye. It is a feeling I will never forget. As someone who always has something to say, it put me at a loss for words.

When I went home on Thursday morning, I decided that I would take a week and not talk to anyone. I’d get a grasp on what had just happened and try to accept my new reality. My senior year was over. Something that I had worked eighteen years for had been altered irreversibly in a single moment. I thought I’d catch up on my reading now that I had time. The first title that I picked up was Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Batman is a dramatic, larger-than-life figure, but the story could not have been more relevant to me than at this moment in my life.

Year One details Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Caped Crusader and the struggles that came along with it. In this story, Bruce is 25 years old and has just returned to Gotham to avenge his parent’s murder by cleaning up the streets. He has spent twelve years training and preparing for this moment, but his first night as a vigilante is an absolute failure. He gets stabbed badly in his first altercation and has nothing to show for it. He then pursues three teens attempting to steal a TV and winds up having to rescue one while scrambling to fight off the others.

The night was such a disaster, Bruce thinks of giving up . He didn’t understand why the criminals he encountered didn’t respect him—or how everything could have gone so wrong. He realizes he needs a symbol that will be feared—and this is where the bat comes in. Bruce decides to don the cowl and to create a suit that will give him the upper hand before the first punch is thrown.

I bet Bruce pictured that this effort he’d planned for years would go quite differently than it did. As seniors in college, we have been preparing for seventeen or eighteen years for the moment when we walk across the stage at graduation. We have been looking forward to what our final moments would bring and the feeling of knowing that all our hard work has paid off. We pictured it in our minds, but now, it just isn’t going to happen, and, as much as it hurts, it is out of our hands. Personally, I am devastated. I did not want to leave my friends, and I felt that I had so much more to do at Houghton.

But, like Bruce Wayne, I am not going to let this moment define how hard I have worked to be where I am now. Nor will I let an inconvenience deter me from moving forward and continuing to be a friend and love on those from school who are so dear to me. I don’t think you should either. The easiest thing to do right now is to sit at home and wallow in self-pity and call it a day. I’m not saying don’t feel sad, because I feel sadness and a sense of loss every day I’m home. But through this, we have to move forward. If Bruce Wayne had given up, then we would never have gotten the legend of the Batman.

It’s hard to look someone in the eyes and tell them that you love them and then walk away knowing you will not see them in person for a long time. I hugged my friends when we said goodbye, and I felt physically and emotionally not ready to let go. I think about the feeling that Bruce had after his years of hard work did not pay off right away. Bruce could have chosen to take the money he’d inherited after he lost his parents; he could have chosen to forget everything and run. But he didn’t. In the end, he stuck with it.

I want to encourage you to reach out to your friends and make sure you are still a part of their lives. A goal I have set for myself is to be a better friend and to have stronger relationships at the end of this crisis than I did in the beginning. I would like to challenge you all to do that too. This situation has not been easy for me, and I know it has not been easy for any of you either, but we have to remember that, even though we are all apart, we can still come out of this stronger than ever before.

It has been difficult for me to adjust my perspective from what I thought the end would look like to sitting at home with my parents and not being with my friends. I don’t know what good will come out of this tragedy, but if we continue to be ourselves, trust in God, and try to be the best we can be while giving every day everything we have, we will end up stronger than we were before.