My mum and I were arguing (as we usually do and a lot these days) about whether your high school years are the best years of your life. I said it wasn’t because you don’t have a license (let alone a car) which means that you have to rely on your parents to take you places, you have to wear a uniform every day, you have to go to class from 8 am until 2 pm, you have to raise your hand to even go to the bathroom, the tuck shop food sucks (there’s no Jimmy’s) and you have to do Afrikaans (though this seems less terrible since “Dames, se vir my wat jou naam is”). My mum disagreed with me and that got me thinking about all the reasons why I did, in fact, love high school.
My friends. There’s something truly special about high school friends. In my experience, they are the friends that you can always count on, the ones that you see after ages and it feels like nothing has changed, the ones you can talk so much of nonsense with, the ones where the banter never ends, the ones with whom the laughter never stops and the feeling of comfort never goes away. High school blessed me with friends for a lifetime.
Walking from class to class. Something so simple, yet so wholesome. Everyone had their people who they walked with from class to class. This walk was a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively). It was three minutes of non-stop conversation that took your mind of the work, it was what was needed to get through the next period. It was three minutes of sanity away from the stress.
Life Orientation lessons. I absolutely loved LO. Our teacher was unconventional and preferred to talk to us about life instead of the usual boring stuff that LO entails. We played games in every lesson and always ended up feeling like a load had been lifted when we left the class. Matric was a very stressful year and my LO teacher made us forget about the stress and pressure that comes with it. LO was therapeutic.
Mornings. While waiting for the bell to ring for the school day to start, my friends and I would just chill and catch up on the few hours since we had last seen each other. You’d be surprised at how much we had to fill in each other on.
Camp. The first time I ever went on “holiday” without my parents. Grade 11 camp was Japanese themed, we hiked up a mountain, made sushi out of sweets, let go of lanterns, sang songs (including Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam) around a fire and saw our teachers in a completely different light (some might say that they were even cool). Matric camp was in Drakensburg, we sang songs on the bus ride, had loads of dmcs (deep meaningful conversations), jumped on trampolines, sat around a fire, visited a power station and this time, ate actual sushi on the way home at Ocean Basket in Harrismith.
Free periods. I loved having free periods whether it was the time that Cooking Fever game was in and all of us sat in silence playing it or when we had our free with our PT teacher so we played soccer or when we watched a movie or even the free where we sat and caught up on work.
Civvies. I now find it so ridiculous that we got excited to wear normal clothes to school. But we did and at that time there was nothing better. An outfit was planned the night before, it’s funny but I can actually remember every single outfit I wore for civvies.
A market day that we had in Matric. My friends and I sold slush and it really felt like we were in Grade 7 doing EMS again. This was also the day that we bunked classes so that we could wait by the slush machine until the people we hired it from came to fetch it.
Accounting. I truly loved accounting and perhaps it was the last time that I actually enjoyed doing it. Thinking about it now, my love for accounting was because my accounting teacher was the best. Ask anyone in my accounting class.
Reflecting on this makes me think that even though I’m a firm believer that the best years of my life are yet to come, high school was really amazing. We were just having fun, we didn’t realise that we were making memories. I really made memories to last a lifetime with some of the most special people in my life. I don’t miss high school, everyone who gave me a reason to love it, I still hang out with them.
The best part is that I now get to see all of them grow up and be the doctors, teachers, businessmen, psychologists, IT specialists, speech and hearing therapists, engineers, architects, interior designers, accountants, microbiologists, pilots and journalists that they all dreamed of being.
So here’s to the best years of our lives that are to still come and may we all be around to celebrate and rejoice together as we grow in our twenties.