I recently discovered a goldmine of unparalleled value after venturing into the darkest corners of my computer desktop — my high school assignments folder.
It wasn’t a predetermined visit but more of an accidental click of my computer mouse. Hovering over the red “x” icon to close the folder, I realized what was before me. I had accidentally just opened a portal into my past. There were four subdivisions in my high school folder, one for each grade, a snapshot into each year of my high school career.
Immediately, my focus shifted to the folder labeled “9th Grade.” What I had written last year as a senior was not of too much interest to me.
Instead, I wanted to revisit the literary genius of my ninth-grade self. He did not disappoint.
I began my journey with an essay creatively titled “Extra Essay 1.” In this essay, I found quite the rebellious quote, calling out my English teacher on her homework-assigning habits: “Now my English teacher, Mrs. Truman thought that we didn’t have lives and all we had to do after school was to do her homework that she assigned. I think she thought she was doing us a favor, but no one was going to correct her and tell her we had other things we liked to do other than homework.”
Let’s leave aside the multiple sentence structure and syntax errors in these sentences and instead focus on the clearly action-packed life I was living as a ninth grader.
I was also a prophet in the ninth grade, writing the not-cliche-in-the-slightest essay about the end of human civilization. Let the record show that if the world, as we know it, does cease to exist in the year 2111, I called it first. There is evidence of my Nostradamus-like abilities on my desktop.
In the essay, I wisely predict our mode of living has an expiration date because our future ability to eradicate all major diseases and increase human life expectancy will ultimately lead to mass overpopulation. Without natural population controls, my oh-so-naive self mused, humanity was strapped to a brakeless speeding train inevitably headed toward the abyss.
Apparently, I had a very grim phase in the ninth grade. Maybe it was because of all the creative writing homework I was being assigned.
Things took a turn for the better, if you can call it that, my sophomore year. Unfortunately, this doesn’t refer to my writing skills. Anyone else use Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions as hooks for essays?
But my motivation must have been quite high, as I discovered a few poems I attemtped to write. One such poem, called “Lights” reads, “The mob of light, / Flashing, flickering, flaming, / Putting on a show for me.” I wish I could say that I was writing about a deep or important subject. Instead, my attempted poetry referred to the taillights of cars on the highway in front of me. My fancy poem is about sitting in traffic. Thankfully, my younger self realized I was not cut out for the life of a poet.
The essays from my junior and senior years of high school were less entertaining to read. A literary analysis of “Crime and Punishment” just doesn’t compare to an essay about life from the perspective of a dollar bill (another ninth grade oeuvre d’art).
Looking back, the final two years of high school definitely improved my writing skills, but the works lacked my old creative edge. I’m very thankful to all of my English teachers for having shaped my writing.
However, I wish to rediscover the bits of myself that were fearless enough to write stories about inanimate objects and use swear words when my peers still blushed at their mention.
My writing is certainly more readable today, but it is far less interesting. I am now inspired to revive the bold and quirky writer that is somewhere inside of me by seeking writing opportunities in the performing arts department on campus.
I believe that this is the best path for me to rediscover my natural writing style at Georgetown since my classes have only continued to push me toward adopting a perfectly uniform writing style.
I encourage everyone who has still saved their childhood papers to glance through them while procrastinating during finals. You may rediscover a creative, artistic beast waiting to be reawakened, like I did.
Anthony Bernard-Sasges is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.
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