Manic Mondays Turn Sentimental

James Manso is a senior at Scripps Ranch High School. He’s a busy young man. James is the high school’s yearbook editor in chief, Fashion Club president, Improv Team publicist, and an intern at San Diego Magazine. No wonder he calls his column, “Where the Coffee Never Stops.” Actually, the title is inspired by a nonfiction piece by his favorite nonfiction writer, Joan Didion.

A new day, a newer set of under-eye bags, and a cup of coffee. Or at least that’s what I would think when I woke up every morning for school…if I lived in a perfect world. My thoughts are typically more bitter than my routine morning espresso shots, and just about as dark in shade. What can I say? No amount of coffee could make me a morning person.

One thing I will admit is the possibility of starting a new day. Maybe I have a sub in first period and can quickly nap before resuming my schedule. Maybe my math professor canceled class, and I can go off-campus for lunch. Maybe, somehow, my yearbook staff actually met their deadlines. Some of these may come true, some may not. It may be all and it may be none. But there’s no way to be truly certain about the coming day.

On a longer scale, it’s the same thing with school weeks. We all dread Mondays because we don’t want to be woken up by an alarm, we don’t want four more alarm-restricted, sleepless nights…but there is a glass-half-full approach that can be taken.

Mondays are not all bad. My class will walk across the stage in a slow, single-file fashion to receive our diplomas on a Monday. I received my acceptance from New York University on a Monday. I knew where I needed to be on a Monday. My life came together on a Monday.

That’s the other thing. Soon, I, and the other 527 people in the class of 2015, will end our high school career. We will end four years of high school. The prerequisite three years of middle school and six years of elementary will not have been for naught. We will go on to do things that aren’t continuously studying until 4 am the night before a test—because I hope my classmates love themselves enough to learn a better way to study.

But it’s not just about the beginning, it’s not about sailing toward the horizon—what about the shore we leave behind us? For a lot of us, I think there is fear in delving into the unknown, and there is comfort in the asphalt creation of suburbia. I think, at some point in middle school, a lot of us reached a point when we questioned it.

I think we may have gotten a little tired of seeing each other every day at school in the mornings: I’m not the only one who does not identify as a morning person. But we grew up with these people. There are people I have never spoken to, but feel bonded to, because we were in the same kindergarten class. I will miss these people because, so far, no other Scripps students have committed to NYU.

I think what really provoked my feeling of sentimentality toward my suburban upbringing was the new year. The start of January is always a little scary, just because there’s so much pressure to complete your resolutions, go back to school, and be prepared to endure it until spring.

And while this has been expected, I didn’t think the year 2015 would ever come. I knew it was inevitable, but it hit me when I realized at 2 am on Jan. 1, 2015, that it was not a few years, even a single year, until I moved to New York. It’s a matter of months until I graduate high school. And that would be all for my permanent residence in Scripps Ranch.

Another provocation is my Scripps’ own revolution in the semester cycle: finals. Many schools have their finals before winter break, although we always wait until one of the last weeks in January. We start our return from winter break with the finals anxiety, which is inevitably that I-should-be-studying-but-I’m-not-and-that’s-stressful idea cycling over and over.

We go into finals week prepared for possibly the longest week of our lives. We study copiously every night and walk out of our classes in tears or in triumph. And the week ends, our semester ends, and our grades are typically uploaded online by the end of the day that Friday. There’s never any homework after finals, so we have no shame in celebrating all weekend. We come back to work the next Monday.

High school is not the first beginning and end we will experience in our lives. But how will we fare in the future? What if my sentimentality never goes away? And then I realized that, much like that Monday morning, post-weekend depression, there were some things that even my morning coffee couldn’t fix.

James Manso, SRHS Senior