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Phelan: The stuff that's crammed in my locker

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

In high school, you’re given a locker to keep all your things in. The locker contains the essentials for life at school; books, folders, backpacks, spare pairs of gym shoes, crumpled pieces of paper, and now, big purses during the school day. I have to stop there between each class. Your basic locker is the most common symbol of high school, other than perhaps a migraine.

The things I keep in my locker are the essentials of curriculum.

But what I always find perplexing are the things I don’t care about crammed in my locker. I always have textbooks I was given at the beginning of the school year that I never actually use just sitting at the bottom. It’s similar to the way that teachers give so, so much work and are always giving away extra reading, but rarely give us enough time to actually use and apply them. So I’ll try, and I’ll try, but I never have enough time or space to get everything done.

I also always find sheets of paper that must be extremely unimportant because I’ve never missed them. I’ve somehow been able to prioritize myself to keep the things I need at the top and ignore the things I don’t. Things that I need stay near the top, while the things that I don’t mold into a solid chunk of recyclable material by the end of the year. It’s like my life. My college applications, writing for the Chronicle, and staying active in my church are more important than the jumbles of old friends or foolish drama.

Some people write all over their lockers. Homework or schedule reminders, hastily scribbled with washable markers, often stay all year. Sometimes “good luck!” or less appropriate words are written on the outside. But eventually, whatever is written on a locker, by the owner or someone else, is scrubbed off once the school year ends. No promises of winning or horrendous nicknames are forever.

As a writer, I make metaphors in my head too often. But as a high school student, dealing with things such as “useless” books and locker jams, I think it might be the only way I can make it. 

• Courtney Phelan is a senior at Geneva High School. She is an outgoing and energetic young writer who likes to swim, read and participate in general teenage activities. She can be contacted at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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