Yesterday I went back to high school.
The building where I graduated, now 2 years ago, is no longer there. Weeks after I received my diploma and cleaned out my locker, the building was demolished. I cycled past the place it stood and I only saw a patch of ground. There, somewhere in the mud, was were I lived for 6 years.
They built a new school just a couple blocks down the road; a huge, round building with plants hanging on the walls and narrow halls circling around an auditorium. Kids I’d never seen before in my life are now walking these halls, carrying around heavy book bags and listening to the same teachers I listened to, making the same notes I made, reading the same books I read.
I was asked to come and talk about my student life. About life after high school. When I walked those narrow halls with colorful paintings on the walls, I dreamed about escaping them. I dreamed about how my life would be after I would graduate and it seemed so much better. No more dragging your heavy backpack from one stupid class to the other, no more getting up at 8 am and start your day with mathematics, no more annoying teachers telling me I should do my homework. Everything would be better after I graduated, I was sure of it. But strangely enough, that’s not what you tell kids when you’re living that life you dreamed about – you just tell them it’s different. Not worse, not necessarily better, just different.
When you’re in high school, that’s your life. You spent half your day surrounded by walls, sitting behind a desk and listening to your teachers (or pretending to listen, while you were secretly passing notes to your neighbor with an encrypted message about said class’ stupidity) and when you come home, you make homework or chat with your classmates on the Interweb – there isn’t really much else. Whether you notice it or not, high school shapes you, changes you and becomes you, in a way.
It’s strange high school students are living the same lives, over and over again, but never meet each other. When you’re almost 20 years old, and walking through your old high school, you feel like a ghost. You’re not supposed to be there. There, where you walked years ago, where you grew up. It’s a place you should leave behind, a place you should keep alive in your memories but only in your memories.
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