Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Hole that School Fills 

By Sarah Madison Repollo | January 30, 2024

The hand inches closer, and the ticks grow louder.

Tick, tock. It’s a mere breadth away. 

Another tick and the clock strikes twelve: ding, dong, ding, dong.

The midnight chime is enough to break the student’s reverie. Gazing out the bedroom window, they notice the sun has long since set, and they’ve been in the same position for half the day…and for a good chunk of the holidays.

Human bones and the chair legs creak as the sedentary teen makes their way out of the room. They tread lightly, hyper-aware of the snores drifting from the room adjacent while making their way to the pantry. 

Dinner is munched on in moonlit silence, a complete contrast to the high-pitched screeching this household seems to favor—the night covers up this family’s dysfunctional nature.

Tick, tock, the grandfather clock continues to sound throughout the lonely meal.

They reminisce on a time when they weren’t so alone. With school came the presence of friends-turned-family. 

Reminded of the chimes of the school bells, the student begins to long for them. 

Time Flies

“Boarding for Flight J70 is now ongoing,” the airport staff announces into the mic. 

Another student rushes to their gate, their family on their heels, all determined not to miss their flight—or their hotel reservations, or tour bookings. 

For the general population of moody teenagers fresh out of finals, the semestral break serves as a breather. 

Kids can rise with the sun’s fall—they can afford to sleep late, or not sleep at all, without academic consequences. After all, no lectures, assignments, or schedules would hold them back.

With all this time to kill, some people get creative. One senior high school student recalls the cycle of going out, partying, and laughing, and smiling, and laughing again.

Students with holidays such as these long for the school break to never end.

After all, time flies when you’re having fun. 

Breaks Through Time

School breaks mean different things to different people.

Hundreds of years prior, when school was just starting to become accessible to more classes, breaks were there for agrarian purposes. Children were meant to aid during harvesting seasons, rendering them unavailable for school during what would become the typical summer months in the modern era. 

Although holidays were limited to the higher echelons of society, regular people were not without their breaks back then. Most especially in areas with higher counts of religious activity, no class was to be expected on days like Christmas or other “Holy Days.” 

These breaks would continue to be applied just the same in today’s world, with some minor adjustments depending on location. For instance, countries such as Australia, Bolivia, and New Zealand hold summer vacations during the Christmas break due to their seasons occurring at different times than that of other parts of the world. 

If there’s one thing that has changed about school breaks in recent years, it’s the purpose. Nowadays, and to most people, these periods are a much-needed respite from the year-round battle juggling examinations, lectures, and projects—all on top of managing a social life and mental health. Summer and holiday seasons serve as a time for the youth to finally let down their guard and relax at home. 

But sometimes, “home” isn’t a person’s address.

Sometimes, where someone lives isn’t a conducive learning environment or even one fit for living at all. Sometimes, breaks are spent in screaming matches, tense glares, and anything but relaxation.

Because of this, they begin to long for their real home—their second home. 

Time Resumes

The school gates crowd as 7 a.m. rolls around.

People are pushing, manong guard is working overtime checking entries and exits, and trips are made here and there to avoid being tardy.

The path to class is full of “Hi!” and “Kumusta?”

Warm greetings are thrown around and continue to be shouted out even as the teacher clears their throat. 

The squeaky marker meets the board as the lesson plan forms on it.

No one is really paying attention, all wanting to catch up after weeks of not seeing one another. 

It’s complete and utter chaos.

Although, most can’t help but think, “It’s good to be back.”

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