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The Little Things

August 10, 2011

As a recent high school graduate, I’m expected to be basking in the post-graduation euphoria like every college bound teenager but during the weeks immediately following my departure from the little building that had captured four years of my life, I did no such thing. Instead, I assumed the fetal position under my protective floral bedsheets and soaked two rolls of toilet paper in tears of pitiful desperation. This may be my pessimism talking but I believe my fellow graduates have severely under-reacted to the situation at hand. While I admit that high school may have been filled with an unnecessary amount of busy work and SAT cramming, people seem to forget the good aspects of the place. I’m not talking about the obvious arguments: no bills, no responsibilities, and general carefree living. I’m talking about the little things, those easily overlooked moments that made those four years bearable (dare I say, enjoyable):

Project pair-up:
You know how it goes. You’re walking down the hall on a seemingly normal Wednesday afternoon, casually waving to friends and teachers and flashing that chipper little smile. You turn the corner into the designated classroom only to find the desks are slightly askew. You sit and listen intently as the teacher announces that today you will be doing a project that requires a partner.
And that’s when it happens.
You glance across the room, row three, seat 2, and catch the eyes of your friend staring back at you. Nods are exchanged, signaling a silent agreement, and just like that, you have secured your team for the upcoming adventure. It was almost like fate.

Snow days (only for those plagued by the seasons):
If you live in new England, you know better than anyone that mother nature must dump at least a foot of snow on every major street and sidewalk in the wee hours of the morning to be eligible for a snow day. As a result, many flurry filled nights are spent turning pajamas inside out, placing spoons under pillows and trying to convince god that you will never ask him for anything again if he grants you this one free day. These are never a guarantee.
In the morning, you wake up, stumble down the stairs and glue your eyes to the news as if it were your favorite piece of television. Your greedy pupils watch the names appear and fade on the pleasant red banner at the bottom until the titles reach the letter of your choice. Like listening to a raffle calling, you wait intensely as the alphabetized letters organize into freedom. Your school appears.
Burdens drip down your shoulders like butter as you realize the heavens have granted you an uncharted vacation. Your homework is done. No plans have been made.
For the next 24 hours, the future is entirely yours.

Desk doodles:
The square root of Romeo and Juliet solidifies into… Boredom. The sun is out. The skies are clear. There are birds Chirping outside the rectangular windows that are definitely taunting you. And yet, you’re contained to a stuffy room watching posters slowly peel off the wall and dreaming of all the ways you can tell your algebra teacher that you will never need to use imaginary numbers. Your eyes float around the room until they fall upon the blank desk sitting right below your nose. Your pencil is already in hand a your teacher is face to face with the whiteboard scribbling notes in marker. What’s the harm.
And so begins the creation process. Dragons. Stick figures. Hearts with initials inscribed like trenches into the surface of the plastic/wooden canvas. All the worries drain your head as you silently enjoy your newfound artistic talents.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the magic continued the following days when other images appear on the desk. A warrior drawn by a different hand appears beside your own. A “what’s up” is scribbled at the top right corner. The heart you doodled now has embellished edges and a glow. You laugh at the mysterious desk artist from another block as you realize you are not alone in the land of drudgery.

Busy work:
Kidding. I will never enjoy busy work.

The list goes on and on but to explain them all would be an impossible feat. High school experiences differ from person to person. Perhaps you can connect to the points listed above. Perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about. Either way, the moral remains the same. Sure, high school is long, tedious, drama filled and almost unbearable at times but when you take off that cap and gown at the end of those four years, don’t shove the entire period of your life in the back seat and smash the rearview mirror. Take a break from the celebratory dancing and remember the little things. The future will be there when you get back.

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