First day of school brings a whole set of “news”


There’s something so exciting about the first day of school…all those new things. New shoes that hurt, new teachers, new friends, new surroundings, new pencils. Wait…do they even use pencils anymore? Okay, new computers, new. Just new.

I don’t remember my first day of kindergarten, but then I hated kindergarten so I’ve probably blocked it from my mind. I didn’t especially like the first days of school until about fourth grade when I kind of accepted that summer had to end and I had to go back to school. I do remember what I wore on my first day of high school, but we won’t go there. Suffice to say that was the 70s and skirts were short.

My little cousin, Seth, starts his first day of first grade today. I’m pretty sure he’s excited and I’m pretty sure his little sisters are pretty envious. His big cousin, Lindsay, starts her first day of the second year of her PhD program today. Heck, she’s probably just as excited as Seth…if only because there are now only three years to go.

Seth and his dad bike to the first day of school

Heading into a brave new world

Seth’s parents are probably just as excited as he is. Wow. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see your child head off to school for a whole day. Seems like such a long time for such a little kid to sit. All day long, they’ll think of him. When they’re eating lunch, they’ll think of him eating his lunch. Will he eat? Will he trade his sandwich for the next guy’s?

Not everyone loves the first day. It signals the end of summer, the end of freedom. Not just for kids, but for parents. Our friends, Tim and JP, came over last night. Tim was not looking forward to the school year starting. Everyone has to be up at a specific time, the household has to run like clockwork. In a word…routine has to rule the household. Or it falls apart. But hey, Tim, you only have six more years of that before they’re all in or out of college…so enjoy it.

At the university where I work, the first day of school is just as exciting, nerve-wracking and challenging in so many new ways. College freshman have a whole slew of “news”. New home, new roommate, new foods, new fears, and for some, a whole new country.  Like those first-graders at the elementary school, college freshman have to learn to navigate a whole new system, create a new routine.

It’s not easy, this back-to-school business, especially the first day with all its firsts. But it gets easier…I think.

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