Last night was New School Year’s Eve, a term I’m borrowing from a woman I know here in Needles. It’s quite possible others have used it also but I just heard it yesterday via Facebook. When school starts, it starts up for me too. It signals what will be a pretty busy fall season for me and a full school year of going to schools, getting stories, photos and getting acquainted with more young people for the year. Hell, I’ve already had seniors, well one in particular, asking me for photos. They’re such hams, but that’s okay. I have fun.
I found myself doing a little ritual just like I would have done when I was in school. Getting the backpack ready, make sure lunch was made and an outfit was laid out on the bed. My mom was the one who really emphasized doing those things because 5 or 6 a.m. comes early and you don’t want to rush to get going, which would then lead to forgetting something important. We can’t have that now.
Isn’t that how it goes every year for most families? The kids get new clothes and shoes along with all the usual supplies of binders, paper, pencils, pens, Kleenex to supply the classroom with, erasers, glue, scissors, markers and what have you. As the kids get older the supply list changes and while teachers won’t necessarily provide specifics they are suggestions especially for certain classes like getting a fancy calculator for that calculus class or goggles for biology. It’s a ritual. Everyone does it.
College kids do the same thing but again, it’s slightly tweaked to be age appropriate and for the new level of school. Preparation could mean heading to school early to try and get the best bed in the residence hall room or get acquainted with that other strange being you’ll be living with for the year, generally referred to as a roommate. That could always be an adventure. Trust me I know. I had two for the first semester of my freshman college year but that’s for another time. It also means cutting ties with the parental units in a new way; a new level of independence gained. There’s the going to the book store to buy all the appropriate overpriced books that you’ll never get even half the price for when you try to sell it back at the end of the semester (in which case you’ll need to do that again at the start of the new semester). The list goes on but I think you get the point.
I found myself doing my own little ritual for the night before school. I hadn’t done it before in the last few years but as of late my sleep schedule is off and I don’t know… I just decided I wanted to make more of an impression I suppose. I usually just do whatever the night before and pray I am able to get up in the morning, shower, throw an outfit together and walk out the door. This year is different.
My sleep schedule is off and last week was a little rough around the edges for me, making mistakes I don’t normally do. I realize mistakes happen but sometimes and that’s all fine and dandy but with more demands being made of my time now, I need to be on top of my game. I don’t want to make those mistakes this week. I need to be fresh for the first day of school so I can get those photos, put those stories together, etc., and not worry about forgetting something. I can’t afford to do that in my line of work. Plus, I suppose it’s going to be important to actually start taking better care of myself – getting more sleep, actually putting together real outfits, fixing my hair… maybe, maybe even put on make-up, etc. Please remember I live in small town. If I were working in a big office in a big city, I’d probably be more apt to do more of those things to be more professional, but in small towns, things tend to be casual. I just figure while casual is fine, perhaps it’s still worth my while to make a little extra effort. The effort would be more for my psyche and overall mental health than for professionalism, though that certainly will benefit. (Note: Don’t get the impression I’m somehow NOT professional just because I’m allowed to wear jeans and jean capris to work…it’s just the attire is quite casual and I’ve tended to take advantage of that)
Well, with all that in mind – I leave you with a little Chuck Berry, “School Days” to ring in the new school year. Okay so jukeboxes really aren’t used anymore (sadly) but you get the idea. The general sentiment continues to ring true.