I don’t remember the practical things, like what my locker combo was and is, but I remember to follow the pawprints on the way down the outdoor stairs. I have to make the block schedule my wallpaper even though it hasn’t changed in years, but I remember which teachers have fun colors of thumbtacks, and which ones have the boring school provided ones. I don’t remember which side of the hallway I’m supposed to go into the library from, but I remember which bathroom has someone’s bucket list in it. I don’t remember not to drink the cafeteria water, to not run my hand under a table top, or how to casually wear a backpack without looking like such a school-kid.
I do remember which soap dispensers really have soap, which rooms are stuffy, and which are cold. It’s easy to wonder if these memories, or lack of memories are reusable, useful, if they’ve even stayed the same, and I feel like I’m learning slowly, trying to figure out. When I get my locker combo right on the first try, when I know my schedule without checking, and even when I go into the library on the correct side, I feel as if I’ve learned my place, as well as earned it. I smile when I see the freshman and even sophomores making mistakes, like lining up for the bathroom when there is no real line, just crowds of friends who will tell you they’re “waiting,” or maybe even filling their water bottles in the fountain that is always suspiciously warm. I feel like I would never make these mistakes, that there are levels of mistakes and mine are not as important as those. I bet the seniors make more minor mistakes and laugh at me, and double laugh at the freshman.
Anya Patel Class of ’23