Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Pondering the first day of school

By Stephanie Tahtinen

By STEPH TAHTINEN

Mt. Pleasant News

It’s back to school time. School lunch menus have come back to the community living page. Store shelves are a mess of picked-through notebooks and folders. Kids are enjoying their last weekend of freedom before the school year starts and possibly picking out the perfect first day of school outfit.

It makes me want to be a kid again and go through the back-to-school ritual. Unfortunately, I don’t have a school supply list, summer vacation doesn’t exist for me anymore and I have no reason for a back-to-school outfit. And I don’t have kids yet that I can live vicariously through.

I always loved the back-to-school season — yes, I am a nerd and will proudly admit it. I would start bugging Mom to go back-to-school shopping starting about mid-July. I can be very persistent, but we never went as early as I wanted to. It wasn’t until about mid-August, though, that she would consent to going. When the big sales hit and notebooks and folders were only 10 cents apiece. Therefore every Sunday morning I’d check the inserts in the paper until it was time to go.

I think one of my favorite parts of the experience was after the shopping was done. I’d lay all the supplies out on my bed, pick which color notebook was for which subject — social studies was always blue — and then pack everything neatly into my backpack. In the following days, I’d take everything out of my backpack, sort it into its separate piles and just enjoy looking at it. Waiting to write that first math problem in my red notebook or put the first worksheet in my science folder. As the first day of school drew closer I would meticulously sharpen my pencils and carefully put them in my little zippered case.

Obsessive? Maybe.

Then the first day of school came. I’d wake up and put on the outfit I had carefully laid out the night before. For some reason I always laid it out in the shape of a person — complete with my shoes placed at the bottom of my pant legs.

I’d grab my backpack and lunch bag and hop on the school bus, thrilled with the experience of loading my stuff in my locker, seeing who was in my classes and meeting my new teachers. It was the start of something new, and I was giddy with excitement.

By the second day the novelty had worn off and I wished it was summer again.

This always made me wonder — why can’t we just have the first day of school and then forget about the 179 days that follow?

That way we could have all the excitement of the first day of school without the pesky days that follow — the ones filled with homework, quizzes and tests.

I realize that having one day of school is not a solid education plan. And I actually was one of those nerdy students who enjoyed taking quizzes and tests. There’s something about rows of students sitting quietly, the soft sound of pencils scratching on paper that I find soothing.

Still, as much as I enjoyed school growing up, as I got on the bus on the second day of school, I always wished it was the last day of school. Wouldn’t that be nice?