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Columnist Peyton Hamel congratulated the Class of 2020 seniors with their grand achievement, but also challenges them to take the international crisis involving COVID-19 to form a better future for all of society.

Congratulations to all the graduating seniors. You've done it. Your family cried. You're officially an adult. The Ames community is so proud of you.

But now that we have had a week to breathe and celebrate our beloved seniors leaving us, it's time to hop back into life by the horn of the saddle. It's a wild ride, I'm sure you know by now, but what can be done? 

We all have had to learn to take *extreme* difficulties in stride, day by day (even though I'm sure most of us want to pull our hair out — if there's any hair left). But haven't you heard? Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. 

Speaking of hair, anyone else stand in front of a mirror about to cut their own hair yet? Yeah? Same. I only like to get my hair cut at home, so I was waiting until the semester ended to get one. Then COVID-19 hit. Ugh. Now that the country is slowly reopening, I was ecstatic to be able to book an appointment. Looks like I was a tad tardy to the party because there is a waitlist of like... a month. Lucky me. Like any rational college student, I don't exactly trust my mother to get it quite right anymore. I guess I have to keep waiting. (Is it worth it?) 

I am sure you've had similar stressors like the hair situation. It's really a problem, but I have noticed it's truly the smaller, more trivial things we considered normal that are now inaccessible to bother us. 

What is our new normal? 

Can we become familiar with this new normal? 

Can we learn from our mistakes to create a better normal?

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Columnist Peyton Hamel encourages society to take the experiences in COVID-19 and develop them into a new chapter of normal while considering hard life lessons that occurred during the crisis. 

The best thing to come out of this pandemic is to produce a reality that normalizes the abnormal. To accept what we haven't seen before. To finally accept what we have seen. To accept a normal that mainstream culture didn't necessarily want to include: natural or graying hair color, diverging social media behaviors, extravagant news or opinions, putting those with underlying and underrepresented medical conditions on the stand or even accepting wearing face masks if necessary.

This time, society put the health of others before itself, at least for a little while. Will it continue to do so? Will the graduating seniors take these experiences upon themselves to shape a better future for those who aren't able? Will normal be a broader representation of the people of the world? 

Keep these questions in mind as we continue our summers trying to keep up our happy and positive attitudes. Stay optimistic that people will do the right thing as our new normal ensues.

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Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(1) comment

Steve Gregg

Quarantines and social distancing will not be the new normal for long. This virus will pass like the hundreds before it. America does not work well under lockdown. Most small businesses can only weather two months of this before they go bankrupt. At least a third of them will do so. That's not good for America for the small businesses, which make up the bulk of the economy, to die.

The lockdown was an overreaction. We should have confined it to the nursery homes and infirm and let the healthy majority mingle to build up the herd immunity to defeat the coronavirus.

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