Opinion: Senior Squidward

Maturing leads to having a pessimistic outlook on life

Wake up, go to school and/or work, go home, sleep and repeat.

Throughout the series, Squidward works as a cashier at his boat-stand in the Krusty Krab, taking the orders of customers before passing them off to the fry cook, SpongeBob.
Photo via Nickelodeon

For many people, this list of tasks sums up day-to-day life. This concept of an uninteresting and redundant lifestyle is commonly satirized or portrayed in pop culture, such as in the kids’ show “Spongebob Squarepants.” However, the repetitive experience is no joke. Everybody, at one point in their lives, will experience some form of this emotional “purgatory,” where every day can feel like a broken record.

I certainly have had a handful of these periods where it felt as though I was trapped. Especially during the virtual education or the 2020 lockdown, the majority of my high school career has included the feeling of longing for something meaningful to happen. Senior year has been centered on waiting out the rest of my high school career. The hope for a better future keeps me going and no matter how boring, painful or drawn out the purgatory is, the period seems necessary. Recently, I’ve started to feel like a teenage Squidward Tentacles.

In season 2 episode 6, “Squidville,” Squidward moves to Tentacle Acres with other mollusks. He initially enjoys the new lifestyle, but becomes depressed due to its redundancy.
Photo Via Nickelodeon

In “Spongebob Squarepants,” Squidward is characterized as a middle-aged adult who has lost a lot of joy in life. He wakes up with the same two neighbors and goes to work as a cashier for the Krusty Krab every single day. Although an exaggeration, many people can relate to Squidward, and for quite a while, he’s been an influence on me.

My life at the moment feels empty, similarly to him. I have aspirations and dreams that I look forward to in the future. And after speaking to my other friends and those who have graduated high school early, everybody agrees that spring semester feels like time to kill before the next big chapter in our lives.

However, I am starting to become aware of what my life truly means, which consists of looking at everything in a more positive light. I have learned that an emotional purgatory isn’t eternal; the word means to have the quality of cleaning or purifying. This sense of purgatory is the time to utilize self-improvement and essential preparation for the future. I am starting to work out more and think deeper about what I can do to become a better person for myself and those around me.

A model of Squidward’s house I created in a ceramics class of my junior year. During this semester, I sculpted many artworks relating to the pessimistic character. (Henry Pham)

Although purgatory can feel never-ending and hopeless, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are people in your life willing to help your emotional turmoil if you allow them. Squidward doesn’t see it, but despite how annoying his neighbors can be, Spongebob and Patrick are both great people and actually want to hang out with Squidward. I’m sure there is at least one person that fits into that description in everyone’s lives. I am fortunate enough to have my friends and family by my side. Without them, I would not be enjoying this downtime as much – the future would become cloudy.

There will always be a better future, but it is up to us, individually, if we want to enter it as stronger people or remain trapped in our own forms of purgatory.