It’s the end of the school year. Teachers don’t feel like marking, classes are organizing potlucks, and we’re all counting down the days until we’re outta here…well, until next week, when we drag our feet back for final exams and pray our late-night, coffee-infused brains will feed us the information we need. Okay, so we’re not free yet. This week is half partying the year end with movies and chips and other half freaking out and continuously realizing we have very little time to study.

Grade 12 kids are itching for it to be over, dying to be done with this prison, but us grade 11s are accepting that it’s not over, not yet. But still, we’re amazed and terrified that these 13 years of familiarity and awkwardness and growth is going to be over in a year.

What will I remember about grade 11? Hopefully not my occasional midnight essay writing or any embarrassing moment that I’ve chosen to forget. No, but I will remember Playland selfies and my weird Psych teacher (conspiracy theories galore) and coming in last in field hockey Provincials. I’ll remember awkwardly sitting on desks during the school’s Christian club, waiting for everyone to stop talking about sport stats. I’ll remember quietly standing up to my friends by sitting with the group they were making fun of. I’ll remember gratefully sliding into the seat next to a girl in Socials, who noticed I sat by myself and invited me over. I’ll remember my incompetent English teacher, halfway replaced by a fun pregnant woman straight out of university. I’ll remember clumsily bluffing our way through French class and building our epic Physics popsicle stick bridge, holding more weight than anyone else’s in the class.

Sure, I won’t think about historical dates packed into my brain, and I won’t ever remember how to conjugate French words. But does any of that really matter?

Looking back on how I felt coming into high school, I know I was pretty nervous. Yes, science classes are hard. Yes, the exams are hard. But getting on sports teams are not close to impossible. Teachers are not as intimidating as you think. And it’s the tiny, insignificant moments that create the year. Not always positive, not often necessary to pass exams…but always important.

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