Twenty four.

The song suggestion comes first today for mood setting reasons.

I’m an A2 student, meaning I am in the 12th and last year of school. After this I go off to university, though not necessarily this year as the future seems a bit uncertain right now. Anyways, we had our last official school day on the 16th. We have a celebratory last day as well where we attend the assembly with students starting from 1st grade, sing the school anthem with everyone and then get the whole day to chill around school in a T-shirt with all our names on it. It’s pretty great. So that’s coming on the 10th of April.

Being in the same school for the past fourteen years, I am having a lot of feelings about this. Regardless of the sexism in our curriculum, the incessant enablers in our batch, and the general misery that school comes with, this place is home. It will always be home.

A lot has changed over the time. The two people I called my best friends in fifth grade, I barely see them anymore. One of them intentionally, the other is just bad at keeping contact with people. My best friend now only knows me for three years, but probably better than anyone ever has. My other best friend knows me for around seven, but has only reached best friend status maybe two years ago?  I used to get into squabbles over nothing in elementary school. I was pretty much a no one. Now I have a ton of friends and a pretty solid, somewhat scary reputation. I avoid confrontations but am known to stand for what’s right and pretty much have my class’s respect. I am much nicer and more tolerant. I’m not as self conscious, though public speaking still makes me anxious. Used to rap Eminem to myself on the field, now it is twenty one pilots.

Our school has changed as well. The teachers have worsened, something I know even more as my brother is in eighth grade at the moment. The old colourful slides, see-saws and monkey bars in the field have been replaced with one monotonous metal contraption. But in the two years it has been around, I have grown to love it a bit. The colourful windows have been replaced with a horrid green and the calming gray stairs were painted to mimic the flag of the nation, for absolutely no reason. The girls’ uniform was dulled with a green vest that does the opposite of its intended purpose. A few students have left, a lot of new ones have come in. There is a metal detector at the campus gate and multiple guards. Parents are not allowed to enter the building anymore. Fuck that, students without uniforms are not allowed in without a solid cause and approval from the authority inside.

But the same familiar little pond that desperately needs to be cleaned greets me every day at the gate. I still hide from the perpetually pissed off old nun that haunts the entrance of the school building. Familiar faces, both dear and not as much, greet my vision. To the right is a marble wall embossed with names of  esteemed graduates, to the left a grand piano. Then comes the vast open area, complete with a playground, volleyball court, shaded assembly/basketball court. on the other side stands the football field. So much had happened there. Never was the athletic type, but walking through the field with friends and more than friends, time after time, would always be comforting memories. All the annual sports days I was forced to perform in the introductory ceremony, and the horrible practice sessions before that, would forever leave a scar. No, like, literal scars, the woman in charge of this was an actual witch. The building had an additional section  added somewhere along the line. It darkened the colour of the window panes. But the wretchedly long corridors are still the same. The worlds most useless library, always too noisy for comfort and filled with the most unnecessarily mediocre books, was always a welcome sanctuary as we skipped classes. The canteen had been shifted from a damp unsanitary corner near the boys toilet to an airy room on the other side of the campus (possibly the one positive change over the past 14 years). The hall hasn’t changed a bit. From dance performances and music classes to club AGMS and  board exams.

Our batch itself is pretty amazing now. We are very close knit, from sharing our food and cars to a ridiculous amount of bodily fluids. We have our problems, possibly the biggest being how we enable even the worst of things, choosing to ignore what doesn’t directly negatively affect us. I do genuinely feel the pros outweigh the cons. We are accepting of differences, jocks and art hoes and spoilt rich kids live mostly in harmony. We don’t backbite, even less so to anyone outside the school. Most stories however do spread, considering everyone is pretty friendly with each other. While I am not very friendly and do very obviously dislike quite a few people, the batch also includes all my closest friends, the people I’ve partied with and whined to, the people who saw my at my worst and are seeing me now. Growing up with the same people over fourteen years gives a whole new meaning to classmate bonds, even if I have become close to some only over the past three or four years.

We’ve been told school was our second home since we stepped into the institution. Didn’t really know what that meant until we were forced to step out.

 

***
Featured image is the aforementioned wretched corridors.
Another song because why not.

 

 

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