BYE AARDVARKS, I LOVE YOU

Wylly Willmott

I never imagined or hoped that today would be my last day at OES, but here it is: too soon and with all my people wayyy too far from campus. 

It’s hard that this article is not only my goodbye to The Dig, but also to OES, which has truly been my second home for the last 10 plus years. Though in a way it makes it easier not to have to see everything and everyone before I go, because let’s be real, I’m a crier.

A big thing I’ve learned to appreciate while facing a move so late in high school is that I’m not actually starting over. Since I found out my family would be moving to Tennessee, I thought I’d be all the way back at square one, as if everything I had done in high school or before was erased. While sometimes we might wish life was like that, I’m bringing every experience I had here with me to Memphis, which makes me happy to think about.

One of my favorites activities at OES is actually The Dig (in case you couldn’t tell). What my general population of readers may not know is that joining The Dig really scared me. I knew I wanted to be a part of it since middle school, because I was the type of weird that read dozens of articles from 2014 over Christmas break, and searched up my favorites over the summer when I missed school. But when the activity form came out my freshman year I couldn’t pull the trigger. Joining The Dig was intimidating to me because in a way it’s being vulnerable. You have to subject work you care about to the opinion of others, even if no one at OES is actually going to judge you.

I finally signed up my last trimester freshman year, despite the fact that Thomas Hochman did not like me, and the rest is pretty much history. I can’t tell you how many times I wrote, rewrote, and proof-read my first article… and to this day it might be my shortest one. 

Putting out articles no longer scares me, but it’s always a good reminder that the most terrifying experiences are normally the most rewarding. And knowing that moving (especially in the middle of junior year) is scary somehow made it less so. 

While we’re on the subject of my Dig articles, I think it might be time to explain why I spend so much of my free time tracking down interviews and brainstorming random topics. And why the articles of mine that I love aren’t the ones that do the best because yes, we can see the stats.

The shenanigans behind the skittles debate, and the zodiac sign piece are what make them some of my favorite memories in high school. Because let’s be real, I didn’t join The Dig to practice my writing skills (even though it probably helps). Writing articles gives me an excuse to talk to anyone I want, connect with people I don’t see everyday in class, and then share the goofiness of our interviews and debates with the rest of the school each Friday. If it ever seemed like I was being funny, it was really just the people I got to speak with.

While The Dig occurred in a more limited way this year because of online school, I’m so thankful to get responses each week about the kinds of randomness we don’t connect over anymore. It’s tough that we see maybe ⅕ of the school on zoom calls that happen twice a week, but it’s so nice to know you guys are still around. Even if it’s just about your favorite NFL team, it always made me really happy to hear from you all.

There are so many things I’m going to miss about OES, from the backdrop of trees in the freshman english classroom to running between buildings on cold days. I already miss the anticipation of last block on a game-day, and how we manage to kill hours (sometimes even 5!) on bus-rides to far away farm town schools. I’m even going to miss appreciate the freezing, normally wet, and always calf-burning walk up SPARC hill every morning. ‘Cause we always parked in the proper lot…. right guys?

Of course I’m going to miss you all the most; my best friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, and the people I grew up with. Don’t worry, I will definitelyy continue to use the phrase, “sko ‘Varks!” at least 3 times a day with absolutely no context.

So finally, I hope my articles kept you entertained or even made you laugh or smile sometimes – that was almost always the point.

Let me know if you’re ever in Tennessee (I have to learn to spell a new state, smh), and I’ll be back real soon.

Thanks for reading.