The Summer Vacation, Illustrated.
"School days, are the best days of your life."
We have all heard this expression numerous times, by various people and essentially at the same time that we were in those days, whilst living the best of our lives. I personally, never trusted this phrase. Infact, I often found myself longing to be able to rush past the so-called best days that involved, waking up at 6:00 am, filling my days with neverending assignments, being ambushed by unmerciful surprise pop-quizzes, homework that ate up large chunks of my evening which meant lesser playtime with my next-door-neighbor, uniform enforcement, and all of those school-ish shenanigans.
Fast-forwarding bullet speed into the more fun phase of life was my subconscious day-dream, too many times a day. To not be a school student, and bolt straight into being a twenty-one-year-old, with more access to freedom, and all that came attached with adulting.
Recalling all of it now, the very idea of sitting in a classroom, with partners that were determined by our not-so-kind professors, clubbed with the process of forty-minute long lectures per subject, limited note-passing under the single compartment classroom desks which ended up in limited giggles, with a very slimmed out twenty-minute recess to chit chat with your friends, and homework.
How could these be the best days of my life?
Being pulled out of assembly lines for having an insignificantly untucked shirt, or unbuttoned collar, or having to be a part of the morning assembly at all; watching a weekly skit - and even worse, being in the time of the year where it was our shift to perform a morning skit, singing the school anthem every start of the week at the end of the assembly (which by the way, thirteen years post graduating out of school is still embedded in my muscle memory.) Putting up charts in each classroom, per subject, per term which were the results of combined group efforts that the class was divided in, but let's be honest, mostly achieved by the one or two bright ones per group, who navigated the path for the group.
How, again could these be the best days of our lives?
I could keep going on and on about all the cons that I, as a young adult felt were serious problems during the "apparent" best days of my life. However, while braving the storm of hardship, with the help of like-minded individuals that converted into the most epic friendships; the ones that would take part in the innocent bullying of "gangs," the naive imitations of the least favorite teachers and the ones that you'd enjoy sharing your tiffin box with. The ones that were always there. With these heroes by my side, to storm through the trials of school life, in came the most awaited months; The Summer Vacations.
Every year, by the time, we began the month of May, my gleeful self would wake up every morning with a spring in my step, and an ear-to-ear smile - summer vacations are approaching, I'd think to myself. With every passing day of May, the countdown was ticking to us being closer to three months of complete freedom. Aah, thinking about that feeling even now, begins a smile on my face, and brings back the playful spirit of sunny summer days.
Cutting straight to the last day of the term, of an academic year. This day of the year was so intensely celebrated by all of us, irrespective of the grade, or section we were in - we'd go bouncing around the school campus, with energy that even Red Bull could use as a part of their list of ingredients, intoxicated with overdrive. Signing off slam books (fist bump to those that remember these), writing little notes on each other's shirts, hugging all of the ones we knew we wouldn't be seeing for the next three months, and planning how we'd spend the most epic summer with the ones that we knew we'd be seeing every day, to do absolutely whatever we wanted to.
God, that epic summer vacation feel - it's not just an expression, it's a mood.
However, what would baffle me the most, that feeling that crept in every year religiously, usually timed two to three weeks into the break - that anxious feeling of missing school...I mean, what even? I never understood why I missed the routine, and all of those stiff rules, that too, so soon of being rid of them, even if it was for only a couple of months. The child version of me, wouldn't take too long to shrug it off and go back to enjoying that summer vacation.
By the end of the summer vacation, usually two weeks before it was meant to end, I would constantly be haunted with that looming countdown that meant, back to school. God, I hated that feeling. That sinking feeling that reminded, and prodded you that, summer vacation is ending; and we are going back to the cycle of living the "best days of our lives."
If you think of it, we kind of living our very own adult versions of school life, except with longer hours, condensed occasional lunch breaks, reduced pure friendships, thirty day annual leaves instead of the three month ones, weekends that we live for, and of course the rigid upper management. We still get that sinking feeling at the end of a weekend, and god knows how many times we've rolled our eyes when forced to gather at early morning meetings that were absolutely unnecessary. That feeling of putting our OOO responder on, knowing we have the freedom to do whatever we want, for the next one month. That gloomy cloud that follows us, when the annual leave is about get over.
The campus has changed, but the rules are pretty much what they had started off with. Although, I'd very much prefer the old school over this new one, any day.
Now, as an adult, who has already lived the best days of her life; I often find myself envying the children that are still in school, those that wait at bus stops early in the morning, with sleep in their eyes and their mums or dads, carrying their backpacks, or seasonal Barbie or Ben 10 trolley bags, with their lunch bags being handed to them as they are pulled in by the bus conductors. The ones that have this marvelous campus to go to, every day, feel the identical feeling the other did which unifies them in emotion, during morning assemblies; having the option to make new friends every new day or repair their bonds with the ones that they have been fighting with because it is just that simple; sit with their peers and discuss the unfairness of the teacher's grading system on the pop quiz that they were ambushed with. The ones that have access to an entire twenty minutes, every day, to see and speak to, all of their social network. The ones that can work together to create charts of learning, or have fun group assignments, together with each contributing their area of expertise.
The ones that have all the time, with no worry in the world.
The ones that are privileged to have the three-month annual summer vacation, and know that they have something extraordinary to return to at the end of this break.
Those were the best days of our lives.
I have become one of those advisers to the younger ones, continually informing them, urging them to make the most of these days, because they truly never come back...unless ofcourse you are caught up in a once in a hundred years pandemic situation.
If you are caught up in one, like I very much am, and you aren't sure of when you are going back to "school," stop fretting, let go, and enjoy your very own summer vacation vibe. Few are those that get to relive the best days of their lives. Make the most of them, this time around.
P.s: This article is dedicated to three extraordinary souls that have been through classes, junior high, senior school, most of the summer vacations, exams, canteen lines, teachers' wrath, board exams, bad judgments, unfavorable times, so on and so forth. The ones that completed the moments that encompassed of the best days of my life. The souls that have carried as much of school, i.e. best days of my life in my ever-changing present.
Merci beaucoup, Faith, Hope and Dream.
Sidenote: Ever since I shifted to being an adult, I now comprehend how much of it there is to loathe. I often find myself day-dreaming, of how wonderful it would be to be a child again.
The lesson here is, the grass has been, is, and will always be greener on the other side. Water your own damn grass, while you still have it! With love,
Stories by Giggles