Childhood Making its Way Back Into the Present

Jasmine Kwok

With the 2020-21 school year coming to a close, many students are looking forward to days filled with ice cream and sunny pool parties. Throughout Centennial High School, students feel refreshed and hopeful after a year of being shut out from the usual summer bustle as they make plans that don’t involve staring at a computer screen all day. There is a sense of reminiscence as they reflect upon their fond childhood memories, perhaps hoping to revisit their younger experiences this summer. 

For recent Centennial graduate Lauren Scott, the sentiment of remembering her carefree  childhood days is amplified. Especially since the pandemic has limited the emotional experience of senior year, Scott finds it more important than ever to “remember the times [she] shared with [her] friends, just spending all day outside without a care in the world.” She mentions, “I specifically reminisce about my elementary school years—going to the spring fair, playing Just Dance, and sledding at the park—with my best friend and next-door neighbor.” 

Students are starting to go their separate ways after spending a bulk of their lives together, and after enduring a whirlwind of emotional battles, time has passed by unbelievably quickly. 

“Looking back sometimes heightens the sadness I was experiencing because everything seemed so far away, like it was a lifetime ago,” Scott admitted. “But it gives me solace that I’ll be able to make more memories after the pandemic is over and continue holding on to my childhood spirit.”

Since it is finally dawning on people how much their lives will soon change, these past memories are all the more precious. Mira Palakodety, a junior at Centennial, reflected on her childhood yearnings to grow up, “I wish I had taken the time to enjoy being a kid without having a single worry in the world.” 

With the entire year spent in a virtual setting, Palakodety found herself thinking back to times bathing in the sun with her friends as they played games, “I spent a lot more time outside as a kid because technology didn’t play as big as a factor in entertainment as it does now,” acknowledged Palakodety. “Because of this, I value childhood memories more than I used to.”

Childhood memories have been catalysts for who Scott and Palakodety have become today,  shaping their perspectives on the world as they create a foundation for learning and experience.

“One specific thing about my childhood that has especially influenced who I am is my bond with my sister Emily, who has a disability called Partial Trisomy 13,” observed Scott. “I think being close to my sister’s unique successes and struggles has made me more compassionate towards others and accepting of differences.” Scott would go on to lead Centennial’s Best Buddies chapter, which promotes inclusivity and friendship. 

“Some of my fondest childhood memories involve the happiest moments that I’ve experienced, while others are embarrassing moments where I made awkward and stupid mistakes,” Palakodety included. “They’ve all taught me in some way, whether that’s just learning how to let loose or learning something from the mistakes I’ve made in the past as a child.”

As students make the leap into the fun-filled future, nostalgia is at an all time high and it is the perfect time to bring back old memories and perhaps relive them before leaving home or entering the next school year, no matter how silly or simple it may seem.  

Palakodety mentioned, “I just want to listen to all of my favorite songs from back then and karaoke to them.” This summer is her opportunity to escape a bit from reality and just let go of all the pent up stress and anxiety this past year has brought. 

“I have a tradition with my friends where we run over a large hill in our neighborhood, opening our arms and spinning around when we get to the top,” Scott said fondly. “We’ve done it since we were kids and it’s a very special way to be at peace and connect back to every stage of our lives!” Before going off to college, she wants to take a trip down memory lane, spending quality time with her childhood friends and preserving it all on camera. 

It’s the time to let loose, have fun, and get outside and away from the devices! Summer will dart by, so it is evermore essential to create vivid memories to look back on as we age and move into the real world. As Scott iterated, “All of my childhood memories have reminded me how freeing it feels to be in the moment and enjoy where you are in life because it goes by much faster than you can prepare for.”


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