Against my better judgement, I decided to go through a drawer filled with old assignments from high school to make room for my new swords on my desk. (I have a new wooden iaito- a blade used to practice drawing in iaido.) Anyway, being the nostalgic fool that I am, I went through each one and sorted them into piles of things to keep and things to throw out. And there’s one thing I learned from spending an hour going through all those: I haven’t changed a bit. Sure I know some new words (and have forgotten some, like ‘glib’) and my experiences of the world have broadened, but at heart I still have the same attitudes. My writing style hasn’t really changed at all over the past six years. While some might consider that slightly depressing, that says to me that I matured at an early age and kind of plateaued out. While the majority of my growth has slown, I’m still building on my experiences year by year (crystallised information, I think?) and becoming a more informed citizen of earth.

What I do admire about my high school years was the ridiculous lengths I went to to praise The Legend of Zelda. Going through those assignments, I’ve found tiny references to LoZ in bizarre and blatant places. In Year 8, I wrote an anthology of poems about the Zelda universe, writing haikus about the races of Hyrule and alliterative poems about the Mastersword. In every single piece of work I did for my Year 8 Art and Design course, I stuck a Triforce, or Kaepora Gaebora, or some small symbol from Zelda like Link’s earring. In woodworks and systems tech, everything I built was a tribute to Zelda, from the coloured handle of a dustpan (representing the stages of progression in Link’s quest for the elemental medallions) to a boardgame called The Struggle for Power (where one rolls in order to collect Triforce pieces before Ganon does). In an assignment I did in Year 9 Society and Environment, for multicultural music I put a picture of the Official Sound Track, and for videogames, of the opening screen.

But my absurdity extends further than extolling the greatest game of all time. I made references like using Savage Garden coverart because they were so close to me. The border of one of my assignments was a design Ivy made. In one project or another, the first letters of the first three paragraphs were I-V-Y. The spelling test I gave Jack to give to the Year 12 English class, headed by erudite Michael Mueller, was an acrostic for LORD XIN. I found a note in the drafts of one of my assignments that said "Knowing my luck my group won’t even be presenting today. But here I am doing it at 5:33am anyway".
In the essay plan for one of my Year 10 English essays opened with the words: "I’m screwed. Screwed like a whore on crack. RAR."
In my Year 11 chemistry exams, I wrote about an elephant that could walk on walls and praised the god of goat cheese when chemical A was added to chemical B. A Year 9 wordslueth revealed hidden words like "Septimus", one of my favourite flash animators, "DP", "XIN", "wwwnewgroundscom", "Raven" (or possibly "Nevar")…

In my defence, high school was a crazy place. I found ways of letting out the insanity. I wonder, if I went through all the work I did in those years, if I would continue to find trails that only I recognised the significance of, or had the context to unravel. I’m quite proud of myself for instilling esoteric symbols in my work, not for the sake of being stupid, but to store a part of my identity in my writing.
In a way, I miss those days, when six hours of sleep was all you got, and back-to-back classes for six hours was just the progression of a normal day. Then again, if I returned to high school, I’d probably be removed just as quickly for all the casualties that would spontaneously occur around me when people started screaming like apes or walking around with their pants around their knees. It was tough, but with good company, still somehow amongst the best times of my life.


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