School days have always had a special place in our hearts.

"Can we go back when we were young
And didn't care if we messed up?
We have forever so we got lost in each other
'Cause time wasn't catching, time wasn't catching us
Back when we were young
And didn't care if we messed up
We have forever so we got lost in each other
'Cause time wasn't catching, time wasn't catching us"
~~When we were young by Lost Kings~~

Though the process of going through it may have thrown us off track, the memories always makes us smile fondly whenever we think of it. The children of these days, the modern Gen Z or the zoomers, the ones who are born after 2000 the ones who have missed out a year or two due to this pandemic don’t realize what they are missing out.

If you ask the millennials, the ones who are born roughly between 1980-1999, they would give you stories of them crossing seven seas and seven mountains to reach their schools, whereas the next generation conveniently reach by flying it seems. Being a Gen Z, these are the stories that we have grown up listening to.

But, does that mean that our school days has become lesser in quality somehow? Not at all, everybody’s school experience is different. The good old days of getting group punishments, stealing the chalk pieces from the teacher’s table, fighting with the class monitor because they wrote the name of the “Talking” in the board. At that time, that was the most terrible betrayal the class monitor could do to us, especially if they were our friend.

The longing to go to PT period and if it comes as a substitution for Mathematics period, the joy would know no bounds. The best news a student could hear is that the teacher is absent, but it might get crushed when science teacher takes over. The bee line we make to the ground, and come back covered in dirt, earning us scolding from our mothers. The way we wondered why to even polish the shoes when it was eventually going to get dirty.

The lunch period cannot be explained in words. There would be a studious group, ingesting the syllabus along with the food, the talkative group whose noise level would make the in-charge teacher wonder where the hell zoo animals came from, the touch up group which would spend the entire break in, well, touch up. The sports players, who eat less than a baby, would eat and run to the playground. A special mention to the group who treat all the periods as lunch period.

All these group would have one thing in common. Happiness. That, and the illegal sharing of Maggi, from the runt of the group. But there would be no hard feelings, because it was all very normal. Imagine sharing food from a single box now. Everyone would run hither-tither.

The morning assembly needs a special mention because that is the only place where we don’t pay attention to what is happening in the stage and think of all the existential crisis we might be having. That would also be the only time we are totally clean. Nails neatly trimmed, neat two plaits for the girls, neatly combed hair for the boys, polished shoes, ID card check, etc. We all know the punishments for the defaulters by the PT Teacher.

We would all have the one late-comer who would come at the half of first period and save us from the morning “strict” classes, because that is when teachers will be at the best and there would be no cutting slack. The class tests and exams are another level of creativity, not in writing the exam per se, but in communicating with our friends without the invigilator seeing. Even if we get caught, if the teacher acts like they see us, they would be our role model for the next month.

All this beautiful memories have sculptured us to what we are today and that is the major missing nowadays. Staring at the screen for hours together in the name of online classes would never even compare to what the real school experience was. As we don’t know when the situation would be safe enough even for the tiny-tots to attend the school, all we can do is hope the days come by soon.