A Whole New World, and in the Worst Way Possible by Jesper Werkhoven

Hot off of a mind-numbing disaster, the class of 2024 has been thrust into High School life a year too late. I’m sure everyone else is taking it just fine, but it’s always a struggle for me. Everything’s always a struggle. But that’s what makes the payoff so great. It wouldn’t have hurt for the pandemic to interrupt my Sophomore and Junior years, though. 

Getting reacquainted with school has been more enjoyable than I thought it would be, actually. It never occurred how integral being in-person was, and how much more enjoyable Creative Writing is because of it. It’s definitely something to ponder on. Although, now that the pandemic is in the past, I can’t help but long for it again. I wish I could go back to a lot of things, mostly things I’m either worried I’ll never get back or just straight up won’t. 7th and 8th Grade Halloween, going around my friend’s neighborhood with a group of my closest, Mr. Sanchez’s amazing 8th Grade U.S. History class… a lot of things from Middle School. Appropriate, seeing as I never really got to say goodbye. I would hardly count an online graduation as fitting. I still need to go back there when I have the time.

High School itself, while better than I thought it was, has had it’s lows too. Being cooped up inside all day, and especially back when the pandemic seemed very literally endless, left me with nowhere to go besides inside my own head. It’s created a complicated me; I feel like I have the greatest understanding of myself I could possibly have right now, being able to more or less describe my current flawed ways of life with pretty succinct explanations. I’ve become a lot more observant, often picking up on or predicting friend group-related events before they happen. My favorite and last gained trait has got to be my memory; it’s a fickle thing for everyone, and I hear that memory gets pretty warped over time (believe me, it does; I’ve seen it firsthand, but I like to think mine is less so), but I remember a lot more than any of my friends do. To the point where I remember and thus know more about my friends than they know about themselves sometimes, which is, to say the least, pretty disconnecting. So much has changed over the pandemic, including them, that I have no idea what to do. I feel like I’ve stayed exactly the same, and while they’ve made complete 180’s in some aspects, I remember many times earlier this year when they were what I’ve thought was their ‘normal’ selves. It certainly hasn’t been fun to deal with that, and more, but I’ve got my Creative Writing family to be with while I sort that out.

Whenever I think I’ve got it down to a science, the flask explodes in my face and I have to build it all over again. School life has been tough on me for the past few years, and the pandemic hit just when I thought I was crawling out of it. Now, though, I think a change is going to happen. It has to happen, at least. Finally getting up and sorting things out. It feels nice.

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