To help ease my symptoms of PTHD (post traumatic homework disorder), I’ve been spending my time doing all the little things I didn’t have time to do during the school year. It turns out I’ve really been putting off cleaning and organizing my stuff.
I’ll be honest, my room has become a huge mess. I have three different backpacks that are each half-filled with stuff (testing days and the past few weeks of school obviously require their own bags) in various places, piles of school papers and tons of college junk mail from the past two years that I have yet to throw away. Also, I’m pretty sure about half of what’s lying around are various headbands and ponytail holders.
My style of tidying up can be identified as binge cleaning. Every few months, after my room is declared a disaster, I go through all of it until it (almost) is spotless. Then, almost subtlety, the clutter starts to creep back. Pretty soon, I’m trying to ignore the mounds of items that are growing. Overall, I’m a pretty organized person. I keep things intact in my backpack, and my locker was as neat as it could have been, considering that it was shared. My room is the one place where keeping clean isn’t totally necessary.
This year, my spring cleaning will have even more significance. I’ll have to decide if I will ever take that so-so blouse to college, or if saving my third Latin declension packet will make or break my future grades. I’ve saved most of my school papers from the past seven years, but I know it’s time to re-evaluate what I really need. As I look through these things, I’ll certainly relive memories both good (like some Advanced Placement language essays that I rocked) and bad (all of my middle school wardrobes). Maybe I’ll even rediscover something from my past that I’d forgotten about. I’ve learned so much during my schooling, and I don’t want to let any of that go as I narrow the focus of my studies.
There are a few things that I know for sure are off limits from the trash: textbooks that I (my parents) have paid for, assignments I’ve done that were particularly clever and the one calculus quiz that I got 100 percent on. I want these few mementos to spark the memories of the rest of my high school experience. I hope a physics lab will remind me of how crazy my class was, or my marching band lyre to bring back the countless hours I spent at football games with my friends.
Besides, I really want other people to think I’m actually good at math.
I suppose that, in the end, stuff is just stuff. If, in 10 years, I decide that I really did want that chemical compounds worksheet, I will find a way to get over it. I can probably Google search for one just like it (science courses can’t be that unique); isn’t that what the Internet is for?
• Brigid Ackerman is a senior at St. Charles East High School. She enjoys playing the trumpet, eating bread and writing this column, which runs every other Thursday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.