Paradise

Shelby - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on July 6, 2008

I believe going back to school after a long summer is like returning to an insane asylum. When you get out, you are filled with the wanderlust that comes with the sound of the last dismissal bell. You feel as though the summer is your time to venture into some unknown paradise and that nothing and no one can stop you. But when you return, you’re stumped. It hits you like the big, sunflower yellow school bus picking you up at the curb that you have returned to the place you thought had burned down and disappeared over that ever-sweet, seemingly infinite summer. The homework, the stress, the tests, and the urge to be the best are back and bigger than ever. The first day will be filled with assignments based on the book you were supposed to read over the summer, while you were trying to find that ‘paradise’. Your friends are still your friends, but there’s that summer disconnect that always bothered you. The feeling that, if you’re a freshman, high school is known to change everything between close friends, and that, if you’re a senior, well, your friends may not even be your friends for much longer. As for most of your teachers, it’ll seem like they are intent on igniting headaches, piling on homework, and, essentially, hoping your mind will implode. Through all of the trauma, you’ll eventually make it to picture day. Your picture, in one person’s eyes or another, will eventually diminish your finest attempts at being creative and special into a 3 by 2 centimeter, grayscale photograph in a non-recyclable, paperback yearbook. Once you see the picture, you may come to the bittersweet and oxymoronic realization that you’re unique, just like everyone else, even more so when uniforms are involved. Yet underneath all the depression and disappointment school can be associated with, there are some near-perfect moments that make it all worth while. The moment you get a solo during your favorite song in band, get a lead role in your school play, get a date with the person you’ve been crushing on for what seems like forever, or finally get a college acceptance letter. Yet, it seems impossible to believe the first day is the beginning for all of these golden memories. So, students, as life goes on and you’re faced with all of the trials and tribulations that come along with it, take the time to make it all last through your grades, your friends, or even just writing it all down. Because one day, whether you like it or not, these years could be a notebook filled with moments that tickled your heart, way back when Amy was crazier than ever, Kanye was as hot as global warming made it feel, and The New Kids were kind of old but back on top, or it could be a reminder that you never got a chance to find that paradise. This I believe.