For the Love of Blogs has posted a prompt-
Today's prompt: The beginning of a school year reminds me of....
Not all of us go to school, or have in years, or even have children that do, but I would bet at the beginning of a new school year we get thoughts or feelings that bring us back to the days we were there, good or bad. Share those stories with us. Let's go back a little, and reminisce.
Well, let's explore this concept, shall we?
The one thing that always strikes me at the beginning of the school year is the smell of fresh school supplies. Freshly sharpened pencils, unopened notebooks, the array of school supplies sitting unopened on a young student's desk, waiting to be used. Pencils lined up neatly in schoolboxes, knowing that they won't be that way for very long.
Crayola crayons, lined up neatly, with their flat tops all lined up neatly in rows (Crayola were my favorite- Rose Art just wouldn't do! My parents will vouch for my pickiness-and studies have shown that Crayola really are better). Picking out a backpack for the new year- and stuffing as much stuff as I had to inside of it. A different folder for every subject in different colors- I didn't need a binder for all my subjects, because I didn't have as much homework or information back then. Map pencils, new textbooks, and finding out who your teacher would be on "Meet the Teacher" night at school.
I remember the small desks with storage to the side, with a slot for your pencils and a lower bin that was larger, where you were supposed to place your books. The upper ledge was for your schoolbox. I remember being nervous on the first day of class, and always being the last person called on the role, as the vice of having a last name at the end of the alphabet.
Then I remember high school. My first high school was scary- I got lost during fish camp. The buses came, dropped us off, and we got our schedule. We learnt it quickly- that was the year of September 11. My new high school was different- I didn't know anyone at all. Transferring information was a heap of a mess. It wasn't even all completely worked out until the end of the year. By this time, there were no more crayolas or freshly sharpened pencils, but the smell of "new school supplies" still entered the classroom every year; there were more books, there was more studying.
Then school started earlier- first there was summer reading, then there was band camp. Marching in 100+ degree weather with colorguard equipment, mastering the rhythm of spinning a flag, matching the rhythm, and crossing a football field in a very short span of time. By the time school started, I had been registered and whatnot. I knew where I was going and what I was doing. Still, the "new school supply" smell was there when the first day of classes arrived, even though I had been at the school for a month by then.
Along came university, a whole new ball game. This time, classes never stopped. There was a constant flow of classes, never ebbing for a break. Sure, students took breaks, at their own pace. No matter the time of year, there was always class- Fall, Winter-mester (December), Spring, May-mester (May), Summer I, Summer II, Summer 11-Week, then back into Fall. Every fall, new students would show up- the pervasive smell of school supplies. And, of course, exorbitant fees to add to it. It became less shocking as time passed, and I knew a payment was about to be due. Your school supplies were a parking sticker, notebooks, pencils and/or pens, scantrons, and books; sometimes you needed a binder, and a computer and jump drive were always helpful. There was no list- just come prepared!
Even if you don't attend school, when I enter any retailer around back-to-school time, I will see a notebook, a pack of pens and/or pencils, and I will instantly see myself back in the classroom, a desk full of supplies in front of me, pencils sharpened, Crayolas in front of me, fresh notebooks waiting to be written in, markers, crayons, and map pencils still neatly arranged in their respective boxes (in color order, mind you). Highlighters, capped, ready for highlighting. Whispers, a green chalkboard (yes, they still used them!) with a chalk box squarely on the shelf, empty folders, and my new clean backpack.
This is my first year not going back to school. The first time ever...and it feels foreign. My mom works at a school, and she's gone back, and my sister is back at the high school. I've graduated college...and no reason to go back yet. I see people talking about it, and I've nothing to say. I feel dumbfounded. I have an urge to go buy school supplies. I have an urge to go to the bookstore. I have an urge to go to lectures and turn in assignments. I keep having to remind myself that I'm not at that place in my life anymore. It's different. It's refreshing, different, and sort of empty. I long for more back to school smells, chalkboards, crayolas, and uncomfortable desks.
Why? Because that's the way it's been for as long as I can remember. I don't remember any other way.