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Weekend Assignment: Back to School

August 24, 2010

It’s time for another edition of “Weekend Assignment“:

In just a couple weeks, students will be heading back to school. Share with us what that means in your life. Are you currently shopping for school supplies for the students in your life? Are you planning on going back to school? Maybe everyone around you is rushing to get ready for the new school year, but you can sit back and relax. Tell us what that’s like.

Extra Credit: Tell us what you liked the most and disliked the most about the first day of school!

Dear little B.T., of course, is still new to the world – he won’t be heading “back to school” for many years yet.  You know, he’s got to go to school for the first time before he can go back to school.  I sometimes try to imagine what that day will be like… but except for the fact that he’ll be older and speaking relatively coherent English, I suppose rather little will have changed.  I’ll still be the dad, heading to work early in the morning and coming home late in the evening and rarely seeing the little tyke except for a short stint in the evenings and on weekends.  In my fantasies, I at least  have a job that’s closer to home so I spend less time on the road and more time with him and Dear Wife (that is, in those fantasies where I’m not outright working from home as a full-time writer, but that’s a different kind of fantasy).

So, these days, the effect of “back-to-school” on me is actually, generally, to make my morning commute marginally worse.  This is when school busses come out of hiding to clog up neighborhood streets and cocky high school kids take to the roads driving themselves to school, putting an extra strain on already over-burdened traffic systems.  But when you have an hour’s drive to work, one-way, what’s an extra five minutes?  In the grand scheme of things, not that much.

Finally, of course, there’s one last effect.  Schools have already started here, but for me, my Fall Semester kicks back into gear after the Labor Day Holiday.  My “summer break” will have lasted all of about three-and-a-half weeks.  This fall I’ve got some exciting classes lined up, but at the same time I’m just about out of energy for this school thing.  I tell everyone that I graduate in May of 2011 – and that’s only nine months away – but frankly it still feels like a long, hard slog ahead.   Nine months might as well be three more years for how far away it sounds to me, right now.

As for the extra-credit… I remember the ends to those dog days of summer, as a kid.  You had to get all your new supplies ready to go, and leave behind the days when you had the unquestioned freedom to do whatever you wanted.  When I was much younger, my mom used to make us read and study elementary math to keep our edges sharp for the new school year.  I think what she did was great, and I was always ahead of the class.  But by high school, Summer had begun to turn into an over-long break where my time was more-or-less wasted watching stupid shows on TV.  I remember salivating over journeys I could never take to distant lands and foods I could never eat at fancy restaurants on daytime Discovery Channel programming during high school summers gone by.  I realize I also spent a lot of time writing and reading and drawing (probably more reading than the others), but largely I feel like those days were opportunities wasted.  The coming of back-to-school time meant an end to all that, and a chance to feel like I was doing something meaningful again.

These days, I envy those lost summers.  Oh, what I could read and what I could write in three months of uninterrupted days.  It would be like unto heaven…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 11:53 am

    Now that I’m just working, the advance of September only reminds me that the sunshine and hot weather are about to end. I’ve lost the rhythm of the school year, but for some reason I still think of the year starting in September. I always loved the first day of school, coming back fresh, and wondering what would be new, who would be new. It was a world of promise.

    • August 24, 2010 12:00 pm

      Yeah, there always was a sense of promise to the new school year. Despite all the “political” and social discomfort that was part-and-parcel of going to school, school also offered the one place I could truly shine. I’ve always been very strong at academics.

  2. Lua permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:10 am

    When I was a kid I loved the day when we had to “go back to school”. I never really liked summer; I spent it reading, swimming and mostly doing nothing and since I love routine, I missed it terribly. Summer meant no routine and nothing to do so I secretly wished summer would be over quickly.
    But I’d never tell that at school because I knew that would make me sound like a nerd, which I am, but back then I wasn’t proud of being one 🙂

    • August 25, 2010 9:28 am

      I always anticipated the end of the school year with as much excitment as any other kid. I had such grandiose plans – oh the free time to play, to do whatever I wanted. But with each passing year, my summers were more and more wasted – so yeah, by the time “Back to School” came around, I was more than ready to hit the books again. (As you, I too was a nerd, and back then I wasn’t proud of it either, but I was proud of what being a nerd meant: getting good grades.)

  3. August 26, 2010 9:50 pm

    Good luck with those 9 months, I’m sure they’ll look like they flew by when you see them in the mirror.

  4. junebugger permalink
    August 27, 2010 9:39 pm

    I’m actually sick of my summer and am jumping up and down, clapping my hands, counting down till I can go back to school again. When I’m not in university I have no organized schedule for my days and so I end up wasting half the time staring at my laptop wondering how to get out of the writer’s block I’m in.

    • August 28, 2010 9:46 pm

      I know exactly what you mean. But wait until you’re out in the world of work-a-day life. The organized routine of it all will drive you mad. (Or at least, it drove me mad. I say that in past tense because, although I’m still in the work-day-world, I’ve already been driven mad and there’s nowhere else to go.) But school definitely provided a necessary structure to my life.

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