18 August 2009

The Waning of Summer

I have to go to school tomorrow. Summer is over.

Orientation begins tomorrow morning at 9:30. Since kindergarten, I have spent only 17 months away from school. For the rest of my youth and early adulthood, I have either been a student or a teacher, sometimes both simultaneously.

I feel eager and stressed, excited and nervous. Like an adrenaline junkie, this is what I crave out of life. Starting school again make me feel alive even though it scares the bejeezus out of me, especially at this level. It's PhD or bust at this point. I do feel unbelievably lucky, privileged even, to get this opportunity. Sometimes I can't believe it's really happening. Tomorrow.

And in less than two weeks, I will face my own class of similarly nervous yet enthusiastic freshmen. I feel lucky to be able to share in their awakening to life beyond what they've known because it's happening to me too. I get excited thinking that, while not everyone, many will arrive at class brimming with hope.

Maybe it's something in the air. The beginning of the school year has a certain smell, even if now it's just a smell in memory. Shiny textbooks, squeaky erasers, pointed crayons. These forlorn objects have faded into the recesses of my academic mind, replaced by computers and ballpoints, but I remember their dearness. Even as a child I couldn't wait to put on my new school clothes and fill my backpack with pencils and scissors and journals. I remember pictures of my sister and I dressed in our "first-day-of-school outfits," lunchbox in hand, even though the first day of school was a week away.

This is an occasion that I think children are experiencing less and less, which makes me sad. School seems a chore to many, and it continues into college. I wish I could inject in each detached, bored face an iota of the thrill I still get on the first day of school.

No comments:

Post a Comment