Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back-to-school memories

Dear friend Jen posted a few fun back-to-school memories for grade school, high school and college yesterday, and it got me thinking of a few of my own... (and also reminded me of the years that Jen and I started college together too... blasts from the past!).

Grade school can be summed up in two parts: home school or "The Talking Years." Home school was a mixed bag--the year my mom did it with my brother and I was a blast. The year a schoolteacher up the road taught us (along with her own children), not so much. I've mostly blocked that year out. When I then went to the local SDA church school for grades 4-10, my life was one whirlwind of social chit chat (and getting in trouble for it), interspersed with some petty battles between the boys and the girls, alternating with crushes; this is the time frame where I learned that if the boy smacks you in the arm, he likes you. At least, the boys where I went to school...

Actual back-to-school memories from this time involve shopping trips with my mom for cordoroys and fair isle sweaters, and arguing about how many days of the week I needed to wear a dress; grade 7 marked the start of that horror, and we arrived at ONE day per week. Worst day of the week. (Kinda funny, given that my preferred costume anymore is probably a skirt...)

Boarding school followed (grades 11 and 12), and with a bigger school, bigger nerves. Monster-size nerves that followed you to the cafeteria for breakfast, and up to the soccer field for evening boy-watching, and all the nerves associated with greater possibility--more friends, more boys, more everything. (Well, except for studying.) Luckily that didn't last too long... and I do still remember some fun back-to-school shopping treks with my mom.

And then college... it was many years before I didn't have funky butterflies in my stomach coming around that last corner into College Place, where the green sign announcing the college (now University) is displayed. Even though I generally enjoyed college, and a new slate of classes, and yes, more boys, there was just a general state of uneasiness until I got into the rhythm each fall (or whichever quarter I returned... I did return once in the winter and once in the spring, both times from Australia, poor me).

There was less "back-to-school shopping" in college... more dreaming about that math class I needed to take (bonehead math) and how I would miss a day and get so far behind I would need to drop it, but probably missed the drop deadline so it would be on my transcript AND I'd end up paying for it too... nightmare. That dream STILL haunts me, even though I learned in real life that the secret is to take math during the summer when ALL the losers take math, and then you don't feel quite as much like a do-do bird. It's all about comparing yourself to others, that's what I learned in college. Sad.

My favorite things about back-to-school, other than the clothes:
*Clean composition books. I even bought myself a couple last week while getting Seth's school supplies. I love new, empty books, ready to be filled up with thoughts, lists, etc.
*Getting to see everyone and catch up on what we all did over the summer. Since I lived out of town and we had quite the trek into town, we didn't see much of our school friends over the summer, so there was lots to catch up on. See, reasons to talk!

As for Seth, he was off and out the door this morning. His main complaint is that summer was too short, but by tonight he'll be back in the swing, reconnected with his posse and enjoying life. My wishes for him this year include challenging classes (especially math and science, since I know Explorers will take care of the rest), a rocking good time in jazz band, and a nice little circle of like-minded buddies to see him through those tumultous middle-school years. That should do it. I think he's off to a good start.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this so much! Thanks for playing along. Funny you mention the math thing; I had forgotten about that fear so many of us had. By the time I finally settled on a major, it turned out that the required math class was statistics and SOMEHOW, I found it much easier than bonehead math. I was lucky. Still, I think I had a few quarters where bonehead math showed up on my trasncript as incomplete. Sometimes it's a wonder we ever finished, isn't it?


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