Because of this stinking, horrible, rotten coronavirus virus, all of you got a really bad deal. The fun was sucked right out of one of the biggest years – if not THE biggest year – of your lives thus far, the one in which you are going to graduate.

For who knows how long, you had pointed to this year and this spring, thought about it, dreamed about it and got excited about it. And why not? Graduating is a seminal moment. It’s one of the signature times in your lives even if you live to be 100.

With that, then, the realization that all of your special moments are having to be experienced virtually, with social distancing, or perhaps not at all, just doesn’t seem fair at all, in any way, shape or form.

Who knew this was going to happen when classes were suspended way back in mid-March? You left and went home for what you thought would be for “just a time,” not expecting in your wildest dreams that you and all your classmates were never, ever going to return.

What a tremendous shock – for you and everybody involved. I just still can’t believe it, and you probably don’t, either. It doesn’t seem real. It all seems like just a bad dream, a nightmare, one from which we all want to wake up, but can’t.

But those who are not graduating this year will get to return for their graduation in 2021 or 2022, when, hopefully, things are much better. Of that much we can all be certain. You ladies and gentlemen, though, will, by then, be off to the next step of your lives, whatever and wherever that is. They’ll get to have what you didn’t – a real graduation they can see, hear, touch and fully experience, and enjoy.

But like everything else in life, there comes a point when it’s time to move on. And as you do, you need to realize that in addition to all the bad stuff, there’s also some very good stuff, and it is that, that will help you going forward.

School can be like a pretend world, one in which you’re shielded from the harsh reality of what actually goes on in grown-up lives. That can be both good and bad.

It’s good in that students don’t need to dwell on it and be exposed to it until it’s absolutely necessary, as in a “why-rush-into-trouble?” mentality. We product our students at all costs.

And it’s bad in that when finally faced with that inevitable trouble, students complain, “Why didn’t someone tell us about this?,” and are often crushed under the weight of it.

But you’ve already complained about the reality of the world. You’ve already been crushed under the weight of it.

And because of that, this huge negative will turn into a huge positive in that it will make you stronger, smarter and much better-equipped to cope when more bad stuff happens tomorrow, the next day or the day after that, and so on and so forth, which it will. After all, a good life is based not on how you handle the good times but rather how you handle falling down and scraping your knee. You will now be the ones who get right back up and keep moving forward, while the others are still sitting there on the ground, wondering how to rise again because they’ve been asked to do it, let alone had to do it.