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High School Days

April 24, 2012

Looking back now, high school was really the time of my life. Someone once said me though, that if high school is what I called, “the time of my life”, then I haven’t really had a life yet.

But I disagree.

High school was the time of my life and I am not ashamed to say so. [Actually, I can’t exactly say that it was the time of my life since I’m only 19 and have only been out of high school for two years…. But, at least so far, compared to the other stages in my life – university included, high school was the best of all.]

I never realized how great high school was until after I left. In high school, I was the big fish in the small pond. In university, I am but a small fish in the big sea. I never said this out loud to anybody because I didn’t wanted anyone to think me immodest. But for heaven’s sake, I am proud that I was Student Body President; I am proud that I started a club that raised thousands of dollars for Breast Cancer Research; I am proud that I won “Most likely to be in a toothpaste commercial” (on account of my pearly whites) of my graduating class; I am proud that I was Prom Queen; I am proud of all the awards that I had won! High school was the best!

I liked high school. No, I loved high school. Everything was just so comfortable. I liked people and people liked me. I liked teachers and teachers liked me. It was a great environment. But by mid-grade 12, I just wanted to get out. I had had enough. I didn’t want to be babied anymore – I just wanted my freedom.

But when university rolled around, I just wasn’t prepared (though I thought I was). Suddenly, I was just one among many, many, many students. I was no longer special. The whole school didn’t know who I was. Heck, in university, no more than a handful of people knew who I was. I was disheartened, and suddenly, I found myself craving the high school environment that I had so effortlessly tossed to the side at the end of grade 12.

That is probably why I always visit my old high school whenever I come home during these breaks. At first, I kept visiting because I wanted oh so badly to return to those simpler days. I wanted to be involved in the school life again. I wanted to be able to walk down the hall and be able to stop and chat with my friends. I wanted teachers to praise me and say that I was the role-model student. All this, I wanted to come back.

But then, as time went on, and I reevaluated as to why I was going back so often, I came to a sudden realization. My friend, A, once told me that she wasn’t so sure why I visited. Was it because I missed my high school? Or was it that I missed how high school was when I was there?

This really made me think. I decided that it was the latter. This realization was just what I needed to help me get on with my life.

Now, I come back to visit my high school to check in with my old teachers. But I also don’t ignore that feeling I get in my chest – that heart in my stomach kind of feeling when I remember what it was like to be back in high school.

I was reminded of all of this when I went back to visit my old high school with my friend, F, today. The teachers greeted us with smiles and “how do you do”s. But today was special. I finally realized that high school really doesn’t last forever. High school, my friend, does not stay forever frozen like the moments captured in a photograph. Today, I learned that four teachers were retiring – one of which, does not look a day over forty and who I love love love !(Mr.W); I also learned that another one of my old teachers is pregnant! I guess even when I left high school, I thought that those teachers would stay forever young, teaching the same subjects that they had taught me, and that they would always stay in those same classrooms for me to come and visit them.

But I guess I was wrong to think that they would always be there for me to come visit whenever I wanted to or needed them.

These teachers were and are amazing. After today, I have come to the conclusion that the real reason as to why I come back to visit so often is because of these teachers. Without them, the building would be nothing more than a hallow ugly brown thing shaped in an “H”. My fond memories do not lie in the walls of this building. No – my memories lie within each and every one of these teachers: the ones that have taught me, the ones that have I have befriended (regardless of ever having taken their classes), and the ones that have politely smiled to me in the hallways.

These teachers have taught me so much more than words from a book. Even though I was appreciative while I was in high school,  I really wished I had appreciated them much much more. Today, when I witnessed a couple of girls being bratty and disrespectful to one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had, all I wanted to say was, “Well, you better apologize! Because you will be sorry in a couple of years when you won’t have a teacher as great as her!”. It is amazing how much I see now from this side of the fence. Seeing how passionate the teachers are makes me so happy. This, and also knowing how much they have impacted me makes me want to become a teacher.

I really wish some things could last forever. I wish that teachers would never grow old and just stay the way you remembered them. I wish that they would never change – unchanging like the handprint I had left on the first floor mural. Today, while F was in the washroom, I went up to the mural and looked for my handprint. I knew immediately which one was mine; I remembered that I had used multicoloured paint. Slowly, I pressed my right hand against the handprint, and sure enough, it was a perfect fit. I knew right then and there, that though the handprint remained, all else around me was changing and will continue to change. Not just my old high school, but all things in my life.

And even then I knew that the handprint wouldn’t last forever. Because soon, it will wear away, and perhaps one day soon, another handprint will replace mine. Is life fleeting or what?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Calem permalink
    May 19, 2012 8:06 am

    Isn’t this the part of your brain that is attempting to optimize your functioning by making you happier by making your past shinier?
    Not to belittle your High School or anything, but isn’t it likely that in a couple years now will have been the time of your life? It’s also a great way to feel a little down about ‘now’ and to go for improvement, living up to some past standard that never existed.

    Not really a bad thing… kind of awesome, really, to function that way.

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