Where Has Time Gone?

close up of calendar, alarm clock and pen on the color table, planning for business meeting or travel planning concept

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close up of calendar, alarm clock and pen on the color table, planning for business meeting or travel planning concept

Kamellia Barrett, Editor, Writer

My sister graduated from Hudson Valley Community College on May 15, 2021. Coincidentally, it was also my dad’s birthday.  I remember just two years ago when she graduated from Shaker and her first day at Hudson.  Both days were filled with anxieties, tear-filled moments, sighs of relief, happiness, and most importantly thankfulness. 

Her last year of high school was incredibly hard for her mentally.  I remember thinking she’s not going to make it.  I remember sitting next to my mom in the Times Union Center impatiently waiting for her name to be called.  The graduates were close to where we were sitting and I recall her eating an everything bagel that she had snuck into the ceremony.  Her small form waving at us with a smile on her face, her fellow graduates laughing at her small form sneakily eating a bagel.

I also remember her texting me on her first day of college.  She kept going to the bathroom.  Nerves she had told me.  And like the mean younger sister I am, I encouraged her in my I-care-but-won’t-tell-you-I-care way.  She came home that day with a new light in her eyes.  I can’t tell if it was because she was starting on the path she was so excited for, or because of the egg sandwiches, she got from the cafeteria. “They’re so good, Kamel!” she’d exclaimed.  I like to think it was the egg sandwiches (it makes for a funnier story), but I know it was the start of her new journey. 

This all occurred almost three years ago.  It was also the year I graduated from middle school and began my journey as a high school student.  And yet I remember these days like they were yesterday.  Cliche, I know, but also very true. 

I write this with 21 days left of school.  At the end of these twenty-one days, I will become a Junior.  I can’t say I’m excited; nervous if I’m being honest with myself. 

A couple of weeks back I had to schedule an appointment with my guidance counselor to make my schedule for junior year, and that’s when it hit me.  I was going to become a junior in what felt like a matter of days. 

It was the Sunday night before my first day as a freshman when I adamantly told my sister that I wasn’t going to school the next day because it was going to be the worst experience of my life.  Evidently, I went to school in the morning, and it wasn’t half as bad as my overactive imagination had made it out to seem.  A little confusing, and a bit hard, yes, but the worst experience of my life?  No. 

Looking back I was a 14 year old and now I’m a newly turned sixteen-year-old.  I can tell you what happened on my first day of school.  Figuring out my schedule and finding places with my friends.  Hesitantly joining clubs, going to guidance during fourth right before my English class.  I could tell you what playlists I listened to, where my safe places were, and where my fondest memories were made. 

I make it seem like it was a lifetime ago because in a way it was.  We had no idea that the world would be shut down in March, or that we wouldn’t see friends and family for months. 

I envy freshman Kamellia.  I had no idea and my life was pretty good.  The night before my meeting with my guidance counselor I had a panic attack at the realization that I was going to become a junior.  It may not be as big as becoming a senior, but for me it was earth-shattering and it still is.  I have no idea where the time has gone.

It has been fifteen months since everything was shut down, and frankly, I still feel like a freshman.  I still feel like the girl who had to wake up and leave the house before her mom and sister and sleep on the bus, because frankly, it was too early to even be alive let alone awake.  I still feel like the freshman girl who loathed geometry class, because it simply was just not math. 

I miss the days in the library and the weird conversations in biology and global class and the awkward silences in Spanish and geometry and even the questions about “how could Romeo fall in love so fast after his heartbreak with Rosaline?” in English class. 

I miss the predictability of freshman year.  Now everything is uncertain and scary. 

I know these last fifteen months have been a weird paradox for everyone.  Time reminding me of the tortoise and the hare.  Time being the tortoise and me the hare. Never overtaking the tortoise no matter how high, fast or far I jump, I’m always behind. 

Albert Einstein said “time is an illusion” and a great magician never reveals their secrets.  So until the day Time reveals their secrets, I will sit here and wonder…

Where has Time gone?