Writer’s Block: Old dog, new thoughts about high school experiences

It is remarkable how far one can come. As I stepped into my past, I had a moment. Before my eyes, I saw the ghosts of my fellow students walking to and fro in the halls. The laughter. The cliques. The old winding halls. The memories of dashing to the cafeteria and the chimes of the passing bells echoing within. I put a hand on my old locker and remembered the endless conversations I had with my friends. I turned the combination lock. 25-7-13. Click. I had not forgotten. In a childish moment, I hoped the memories would pour out of my old locker and flood the halls with the euphoria of the days spent by a younger me.

TJ Armstrong
TJ Armstrong

It is amusing to think at the tender age of 18 how small your world can be. Every day passes so slowly, and yet, you blink and years go by. I remember fishing off the dock and pouncing on frogs hiding in the cool catacombs of their resting places at the age of 5. It was as if I blinked, and I was already in grade school learning algorithms and equations I never thought I would master. I blinked again, and I was 15 raising the courage to ask the first girl I fell in love with to a school dance. Another blink, and I was a sophomore wreaking havoc and laughing gallantly among my friends. How I never thought those days would end.

Then I was 18 and could not wait to be rid of this place. To move onto bigger and better things even though I had no idea what I wanted. I was lost and confused. I had no idea where my life was going. All I knew was things were changing. I could not wait until the sands of time would steadily flow to the bottom. I wanted time to pass quickly, and so it did.

I just opened my eyes. My hand still on my locker’s door. It truly is astounding to me how far I have come in my time. I never thought I would be within these walls again, interviewing teachers for a newspaper I was interning for. I have grown older and seen parts of the world the younger me would have been dumbfounded to hear.

It’s funny, isn’t it? How nearsighted we are when we are young. How we always think we know what’s best and what’s around the bend. However, I never saw this coming. I turned away from my old friend and walked away. Through the doors and to the parking lot I occupied all those years before. I turned my keys into the ignition and peered at my old high school once more. Again I thought of all of the happy times I had experienced behind those doors. Time is interesting. It helps you see things. It allows you to grow. To experience the unknown. A smile stretched across my face, and I drove away. I can’t thank the people within those walls enough. They shaped me into who I am today.

For some people, college is the best time of their lives. For me though, I think my happiness was slowly churned within that school. The friendships I made and the teachers who guided me toward success I will never forget. I’m a sap for these kind of things, but don’t misinterpret me. I have no desire to go back to relive those days of old. For the memories I have reside deep within my soul and shimmer as brightly as gold.

I thank the teachers and the staff at Anoka High School. You really made an impact on your students. Even this hopeless romantic fool.

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