An open letter to my high school, to my Welkin

An open letter to my high school, to my Welkin

My dear Welkin,

It’s been more than a year since I have been able to walk the roads that took to me to some of my favourite buildings on the campus grounds. These buildings hold some of my favourite memories of the two years I lived there. These memories hold a special place in my heart because it was during those years that I was the happiest. As soon as I stepped foot on those campus grounds, I had the biggest smile and the fullest heart, for I felt I was in my second home.
Of course, this letter is more to the people who taught at the school, rather than the school itself. This letter is to the English teacher who taught me how to meet deadlines with papers and fuelled my love for writing. This is a letter to everyone who told me that if I didn’t study I would fail. To everyone who told me that if I didn’t try I wouldn’t succeed. To the teacher who told me that if I didn’t try I would never make it in the world. This is a thank you for telling me the way the world works. This is a thank you for being there for me and giving me a place where I always belonged.
Thank you for showing me how volunteering can change someone’s life. Thank you to god for putting this beautiful place in my life, which made it so much better since it came into my life in 2018. It’s my favourite place in the whole wide world. It helps me forget all my worries and lets me have a blast all the time that I am there. I am forever grateful to have come across this beautiful place.
And now it’s probably time to leave (though I’ll always be a part) but not before a proper thank-you and goodbye.
Thank you for hosting the Fiestas and thank you for the security of your walls. Thank you for preparing me for the next phase of my life. I leave with the assurance that you will shelter the next Sobia who is lucky enough to share some of her life under your roof. I’ll admit I thought I was a little crazy at first when I touched your walls and felt a visceral reaction. Words of gratitude fell out of my mouth as fast as the tears fell from my eyes.
I must apologise, too, for all the times I looked at you with disdain and frustration. I look back at the person I was when I lived here, and now I see things more clearly: I see a lost girl full of pain who desperately needed to find her voice. At the time I was afraid that you were dictating my identity – telling me who I should be – instead of allowing me to develop on my own.
Now when I’m older, I realise I was dumb, very dumb. You wanted this version of Sobia actually, the Sobia writing this letter.
You gave me a sense of place in this world – a sense of where I have been and where I am going. I’ve made major life choices because of you, and with your guidance. It is because of the people I’ve known here that I know what integrity looks like, and also when it’s absent. I am still connected to you, and I’m learning that I’ve kept your good parts within me as I’ve grown. I owe you thanks for those meaningful relationships I formed with kindred spirits during my years here. Many of them remain intact all this time later. Now, we reminisce about the adventures, heartaches, and delights that connected us in our school.
This letter is my heart poured out, for every corner and every person of my school, my Welkin. To all my teachers (I consider all teachers mine) and to all the non-teaching staff, to the administration, to the caretakers, I owe my gratitude, heartfelt gratitude. Too often we progress through the ‘ropes of life’ and do not invest the time to express our gratitude for the support you provide for our growth.
Sonnet 18 is considered as the finest work of William Shakespeare (nobody clearly knows who he wrote the poem for). I’m copying the poem here, to express that for which my words aren’t enough.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

Now that I’m starting a new chapter of life, my graduation (though I feel I’m too young for that), I want you to keep me in your good books, in your blocks and in your hearts. I want you to keep all your gates open for me, always. I want you to keep your arms open for me, no matter after how long I visit you. But I’ll visit you every summer, when you’ll be in your full blossom and brightness. I promise I’ll visit you because that’ll make my summer beautiful. I promise I’ll do so good that you remember me, in all your rooms and corridors, halls and libraries, and heads and hearts. I’ll visit you to seek blessings that will remain with me my whole life, because “MY DEAR WELKIN, YOU ARE MY SHRINE AND YOU HAVE MY SAINTS”.

Sobia Khatoon [email protected]

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