During the past week as I wander through local stores, I have certainly noticed an increase of families buying school supplies. Suddenly, the lazy days of summer are over, and thoughts are turning to school. There is a bit of a frenzy as children pick out supplies, clothes and all the other necessities of school. I have seen mothers patiently helping their pre-teens pick up clothes, dads helping little ones pick out shoes and teenagers out buying their supplies.
I always find it to be a melancholy time of year. I recall how, as a young girl, August brought a mixture of anxiety and excitement as school days drew closer. I always worried about what the new school year would bring. Being a “country kid”, I hadn’t seen most of my friends for almost two months and I was concerned that friendships might not have survived the passage of time. At the same time, I was anxious to see my friends and looked forward to spending another school year with them. I remember being anxious to find out who my teacher would be that year and hoping that I liked her or him. A lot of things have changed since I went to school, but the emotions and anxiety remain the same.
I remember my very first day of school and the feeling I had when Mom let go of my hand and turned to leave. I remember wanting to cry but blinking back the tears, determined not to cry in front of my new classmates. I don’t remember much of the rest of day, but I certainly reminder that strong determination not to cry and how hard I worked at holding back the tears. A lot of the “town kids” already knew each other and so we, the “country kids” took a little longer to mix in.
My family and most of our neighbours did not go into the city to buy our school clothes, which usually arrived to our house in a big cardboard box from Sears. How excited we were to go through the box and find the items Mom had ordered for us, and deciding which clothes we would wear on our first day of school. When we were a little older, we got to pick our own clothes out of the catalogue.
Still, even with my new clothes and new school supplies, as I waited for the bus, my anxiety was always high. The first hurdle of a new school year was re-claiming your seat on the school bus. As every bus-riding student knows, there are always one or two bullies on the bus and I wanted to make sure I never sat anywhere near them. Being one of the last students to be picked up on the route, my choice of seats was often limited, unless the bus driver instructed everyone to sit in the same seat as the previous year. Mercifully, my bus driver always did this, so my bus ride to school every day was, for the most part, uneventful.
Even after all these years, when I see students and their families preparing for the upcoming school year, all those old feelings of anxiety and excitement return – if only for a fleeting moment.
To students and teachers, I hope you have a wonderful school year.