T Minus 40: Back to School

Today is the first day of school in my town and I am super-jealous of those kids!

September has always felt like a beginning to me. Not only is it the start of a new year of life for me each calendar rotation, but no matter how old I get I still feel like going back to school. This year is no exception, last night I went to back to “class” in the form of an online meeting with my writer’s group and it felt great. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose just as mine was dwindling.

I was never one of those kids that dreaded the start of a new academic year. On the contrary, I eagerly awaited the opening bell. Summer is great. It brings freedom, relaxation and play, but the beginning of a fall semester was like the opening of a door to me. That door led to new classes, new activities and catching up with the friends that hadn’t been part of my summer crew. For some reason I always used to try out a new handwriting style in September too.

Of course, the shiny new belongings that September brought helped to fuel my desire to return to class. Fresh notebooks and pens, clothes and shoes and a new stack of text books made me feel reborn. The promise of a great year, of finally getting it right, was at my fingertips.

I would shake my head and commiserate every time a friend complained about having to go back, but I secretly thought they were crazy. Why wouldn’t you want this fresh start? It’s a gift.

In college, the start of the fall term was particularly awesome. At NYU the dorms opened a full week before classes started and I would always move in on the first day. That first week set the tone for the semester. I got reacquainted with my out-of-state friends and got to play house in Manhattan without the burden of classes or jobs or bills. I settled in, hung posters, made my bed, set up my space, then I partied. I loved it.

By October, my back to school verve would invariably wane, but those first few weeks were glorious. The teachers weren’t really strict yet, the workload was still ramping up. There were still plays to audition for, concertos to learn, half-time shows to plan and a year’s worth of my favorite activities on the horizon. The new world was there for me to conquer.

You only get a few “back to schools” in the grand scheme of life. I was always aware that one day they would end. I still feel a sense of renewal around labor day though – every year.



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