Every year, graduating seniors on The Octagon write a final piece to say goodbye to Country Day. This is one of nine pieces by the class of ’22.
The cluster around the laptop cart cleared enough for me to grab one of my own. As I finally sat down and opened it up, I heard the directions being shouted across the classroom. I followed the instructions and found myself staring at the Gmail website. Slowly, I typed in the unfamiliar email address “email@example.com.”
Suddenly, the number 22 had a lot more meaning. My first thought when I realized it was my graduation number was, “wow that’s really far away.” Yet, here I am sitting in the year 2022 struggling to come up with the words to sum up my 10 years at Country Day. That email address holds the key to the most significant experiences — from all the last-minute essays to the wonderful memories.
As we entered middle school, each of us received our very first iPads, and, with them, access to our Gmail and Google Drive. While most students may have used Gmail to communicate with teachers, my friend group took full advantage of our new technology.
Every Thanksgiving, winter and spring break was marked with multiple email chains discussing everything from BuzzFeed quiz results to the life events that had transpired in the time we had been apart, even if it was only one week.
One email chain between me and my best friend, Keerti, includes her dramatically exclaiming that whatever happened to her over break was worse than breaking a bone. I didn’t know what actually happened at the time since she refused to tell me until we saw each other again, but those expressive emojis and dramatic words remain ingrained in my brain.
Some emails are simply BuzzFeed quiz results copied and pasted without any other context. I mean, now I’ll always know that, according to BuzzFeed, both Keerti and I belong to the Granger family in Harry Potter.
Even now, I can go back and read those memory-filled email chains. Some friends moved on to other schools, and others drifted away, but our nostalgic conversations will remain forever in my inbox.
At least until my email is deactivated at the end of this year. My inbox will become a time capsule, never to be opened again. My Google Drive is split up into many folders, holding assignments from each grade.
Each time I open the Chrome window, it’s like opening windows of memories, including projects — my favorite being “Why my civilization is better than yours” from sixth grade. The document contains a short paragraph outlining what makes Flegentacia the best fake civilization.
From famous monuments such as Devil’s Tower to the ability to survive a 300-foot tsunami, Flegentacia clearly takes the title for the superior civilization, at least according to my 12-year-old self.
The most recent documents hold the hours of work on my 17 college applications. As I look back on each of those essays, I see visions of a different version of myself. There’s a version there focused ahead on the future, the next four years, and all to come. So focused, in fact, that the present no longer matters.
Now, as my last day of high school and last day of school at Country Day comes to a close, I realize that the present that I ignored for so long will soon become my past. I can see the life I’ve known slipping out of my grasp one day at a time, leading up to graduation. Never again will another email be sent or received by firstname.lastname@example.org.
— By Arikta Trivedi
Originally published in the May 24 edition of The Octagon.