Just like last year, this week will be about all things Back-To-School — the fun, the jitters, the sweaty palms. I’m excited to kick things off with Christina from Because of Madalene, who shares her back-to-school routine, as well as all the emotions that go along with starting a new school year. I’d love to feature your memories, so feel free to send them to mellow1422 (at) aol (dot) com. Can’t wait to hear from you, friends! xoxo
My 10-year high school reunion is coming up this winter, and I’m starting to get those back-to-school butterflies again! Who am I going to see? What am I going to wear? What will they think of my bangs? Which cuties will still be single? All thoughts I still had back in the day, every first day of school.
This natural and exciting experience is one of my favorite childhood memories. Being the youngest of an older family, summers were quite lonely — a lot of Wonder Years reruns, grilled cheese sandwiches and not too many friends to call since most of them were traveling, camping, etc. My family didn’t go on too many trips when I was a kid, so as much as I looked forward to a break, I was always ecstatic to return back to school and be social and active again! The week before school was always the most fun and rewarding. It’s almost like it became a treat for having to stick out a long and hot summer. My mom would take me to what used to be Mervyn’s and let me pick out a whole new fall wardrobe and Jansport backpack for a fresh new start of the school year.
“Mom, I’ll die if my classmates see me in the same old clothes as last year! And my backpack surely has holes in it by now from the 20-pound load I had to drag around.”
Next stop: Thrifty’s (now Rite Aid) where I would get to purchase all new mechanical lead pencils with crisp, clean erasers on their tips, white out, neon graphic folders, notebooks, colored pens, highlighters, etc. The school supply aisle was my favorite aisle in every convenience store. When my mom or dad had to do a boring errand there, I would run to this bright aisle every time and pass the time away until it was time to leave. They always knew where to find me. I would think of all the colorful items I would get if it was the first day back to school and remember what to get for next year. So when it finally came to be the week before, I couldn’t wait to bolt down that aisle and get everything I could remember from previous trips. I can’t forget the ice-cream shaped erasers! Oh, and the sparkly pencil case! I was never fond of the process of school. I loved the social aspect of it, but doing homework, presentations and tests…I dreaded. And although you would never know it from my grades, school was hard for me. I was a slow reader, poor test taker and took hours longer than most classmates to study and finish homework. I was too young to realize this then, but picking out all new supplies was my therapeutic way of helping me get through the feared tasks ahead. And just for a moment, this little distraction made me forget about the stressful year to come. And I was happy and carefree.
Orientation was always something I looked forward to. Where are all my classes? Will it be easy to get from one to the other? Who are my teachers? Which friends have the same classes? How many books am I going to have? Will my picture look okay? The anticipation was thrilling, and although also a bit scary, I remember loving that feeling. It was new, different and exhilarating. Then the first day back finally comes. I never slept well the night before because the nerves were too much. I would get up extra early, make sure my backpack was organized and held everything I needed to be fully prepared for the day, including all the fun little goodies from Thrifty’s. I could hardly eat breakfast because my stomach was in knots, but I was ready to finally live through the unknown. Which cute boys will I get to sit next to? Will my teachers be nice? And in a matter of a few short hours, it was all over just like that.
It’s amazing how much all those nerves, excitement and anticipation would evaporate as soon as the first day was through. Routine kicked in quickly and school became the norm again like every other year in the past. And as fast as this would happen, I would still get those butterfly feelings the next year and the next because back-to-school was fun, and getting to see my friends every day again was a treat. I’m lucky if I get to see my old school friends once every couple of months nowadays. And as much as I love being independent and having a career, I truly miss those days of being excited over something so normal and simple. A memory I’ll never forget.
–By Christina from Because of Madalene