Guest commentary: There are so many things to miss about going to school

La Jolla High student Amaya Bishop misses the pre-pandemic days when scenes like this were an everyday occurrence on campus.
La Jolla High School student Amaya Bishop misses the pre-pandemic days when scenes like this were an everyday occurrence on campus.

I have mixed feelings about distance learning. I like that I can use my own bathroom, wear sweatpants, eat food from my house and sit barefoot on my couch during my school day. However, that’s about it.

I miss school so badly and I don’t like being home this much. I’ve gotten used to dividing up my day because it helps me expend energy and have different chapters in my days.

Last year my day went like so: I woke up and got dressed and went to school 10 to 15 minutes early just to hang out with my friends and chat before school. Then I’d wander into my first-period class and listen to Mr. Tellers and some smart boy discuss a miscellaneous cinematic historical reference or a comical political instance. I’d be in two sweatshirts freezing but enjoying a very easygoing start to my day.

Then when first period would begin, I had taken notes the night before, so I would sit and listen to my favorite subject and all the extra stories embedded in the curriculum by Mr. Tellers. In a classroom covered in flags, military helmets, vintage propaganda, ‘70s pop culture posters and faux shrunken heads, I would sit and drink yerba mate tea.

I had all my seminar friends, track friends and after-school friends in my different classes, and I always enjoyed hearing about everyone’s weekends or seeing the artistic kids’ new drawings.

The next period was English. I would trudge up the stairs and wave, smile or tap my friends on their shoulders in the hallway and stroll into second period. I sat next to one of my closest friends and we were positioned right in the front next to our teacher. She was the sweetest lady ever and I miss her. We’d take notes and read stories or essays and in the midst of corrections converse over our weekend plans or homecoming dresses or the new season of “The Bachelor.”

Next, I had third period and I would frequent the bathroom to fix my hair and say hello to the usual suspects who gathered there as well. While taming flyaways, spilled gossip would flutter past my ears and I’d giggle as I approached my class and put my phone up in the wall pockets of my enviro class. Some days there were lectures and others there were walks to the beach. Sometimes we were improperly dressed for these occasions and would sweat exceedingly through our unneeded layers. Once we met the top of the Westbourne stairs pink-faced and awkward, the water always seemed to know we were coming and was completely clear. I miss it a lot.

For fourth period I almost always arrived early and would sit in the back listening to the wrap-up of my freshman English teacher’s homework instructions. Nostalgia for my freshman year, which felt like yesterday and eons ago at the same time, filled me each day, and I developed an appreciation and an acknowledgment that my time at this school would be quick.

Then I’d wander into his office and sit on his couch and vent about my problems and he would laugh and assure me he wasn’t listening and I’d assure him he was and that he was my favorite therapist. He’d roll his eyes and shake his head, but I know he enjoyed my perspective and complaints about whatever was happening in the news.

Then the ASB student president would begin with instructions and I’d scurry to my seat as they rolled their eyes because I could never really stop talking. They’d explain what was planned for the week and what we were to get done. I had my best friends in this class and my favorite people and my favorite adults. Some days we made football posters, others we called venues, and on the prime days we’d go to The Village and pick up posters and fliers from Copy Cove.

The clock would ring at 12:44 and we’d meander out to lunch. My friends and I sat on the ground in a hodgepodge group where the guys complained about an assignment they forgot and the girls shook their heads. We sat and stood eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, sandwiches or smoothies dropped off by somebody’s cool older sister.

And there was always one girl who had extra energy. She would sort of frolic around as she told a story that the majority of the group wasn’t following. She’d interrupt herself with a burst of infectious laughter, leading everyone away from what she was talking about and to laugh uncontrollably as well.

At fifth period I walked with a few of my guy friends who had classes near mine and we’d hold our foreheads, concerned about whether or not we had math tests. The classroom was always hot, but my math teacher was funny and students usually made incoherent remarks that kept you smiling and carried on the period efficiently and enjoyably.

Last period I walked with my friend from fifth grade all the way across campus to the library to my college class that I had only twice a week. Which was indeed wonderful.

I miss the way we learned. I miss putting some sort of effort into my outfit and I miss the overflow of caffeine. I miss the kids you’d see and talk to every day in class but not necessarily outside of school. I miss meaningless conversations with your teachers about music. I miss the sea breeze at school and the loud birds after lunch. I miss coming home and telling my parents about what I learned, what someone said and what events the school had coming up on the calendar. I miss tutoring and club meetings. I miss football games and lunchtime makeup tests. I miss my teachers, my colorfully organized binders, girls complimenting each other in the hallway, and awkward assemblies.

I am aware of why we can’t return right now and I do not blame anyone for it. But … I miss school.

Amaya Bishop is a senior at La Jolla High School and a member of ASB, a group of student leaders who organize events at LJHS.