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Why back-to-school is still kinda the worst, even when you're a grown-up

Wendy King examines the good, the bad and the smelly of back -to-school in this week's edition of Everything King
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I still get it.

It is that queasy mixture of butterflies and nervous energy that hits about this time every single year.

I don’t think it matters how old you are or even how long you’ve been out of school.

It is those pre-September jitters.

Young people today seem so much more adult and sophisticated than I ever was so maybe going back to school doesn’t bring with it the same angst as it did for me.

Such a mix of emotions.

There is the horrible realization that summer is coming to an end. (Cue CNE theme song)

There is the disgusting sight of school supplies laid out in the stores.

One thing I did always love was stocking up on paper (remember Hillroy notebooks?) and pens and magic markers. (once a writer always a writer, I guess)

I saw a commercial the other day where the mom tried to wake up her adolescent son to go supply shopping.  He grabbed the phone and made a couple of clicks and the shopping was complete and delivered to the house.  It is a different world.

Maybe my memory is faulty but I also remember getting an all new wardrobe before September and opening day I wore a wool kilt and blazer.  Perhaps this is a clear example of how global warning is very real.  The weather is so much warmer now.  Nobody would ever wear a wool kilt now for a variety of obvious reasons.  

I have a friend who offers this excellent suggestion.

Never wear your new clothes the first week because it will just be a waste of a good fashion statement.  People will be too obsessed with finding their classrooms and reconnecting with friends to notice your new ensemble.  Better to wait until week 2 and make it count.

One thing that must have improved by now is lunches.  Anyone remember lunch pails?

When I carried a tin lunch pail all I wanted was to be grown up enough to take lunch in a paper bag.  I had to wait until high school for that.  Now, students can eat in the cafeteria or go out to a real restaurant for lunch.  That is incredible.  My life revolved around hoping the banana smell did not permeate the sandwich.   If your mom made you a tuna sandwich the same day as you got a banana—well, just put a kick me sign on my back.  So gross!

Hard as it is to believe for students now—these are  going to be among the best days of your life.  This is where you will make life-long friends and possibly your first love.  You will figure out your fashion sense.  You will hear the music that will forever be your soundtrack. You will begin to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning.

If you are fortunate you will have amazing teachers whom you will recall decades later along with the lessons they taught in and out of the classroom.

I loved school.  I was one of the oddballs who loved writing essays and exam days.

However, I was in “sweathog” math class (google Welcome Back Kotter) and to this day I can’t manage my money.

I never understood those problems they gave us :

If Train “A” is going 100 km. and hour and passes Train “B” at 12:04 p.m. going 60 km. an hour—how many people are on the train?

I didn’t care.  I still don’t.  I  would just avoid all trains.

However, if the two trains collide (Heaven forbid!) well, then I am your girl to write the descriptive news story and report on it. 

We all find our way.

Wishing you all a successful and fun school year with limited banana smell.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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