Finding the excitement in a new school year

Emily Varker, Copy Editor

Going back to school is usually a time that is dedicated to the future and, to a lesser extent, the present. Returning to class is usually met with being told about all the cool projects to work on and all the interesting subjects you’ll study throughout the course. It means seeing friends that you perhaps have not seen all summer, making plans to do something together “just as soon as we get settled into the semester” and joining exciting clubs. However, as the year goes on, the excitement from the first few days seems to fade. Those cool projects are a lot more work than you thought they’d be, and the subjects may start to lose their appeal. It gets harder and harder to see friends as things get busier and busier. You might miss more meetings of those clubs than you wanted because the workload has gotten more intense than you thought. The beginning of a new school year may be exciting, but it is also a time of heightened expectations. This year has got to be better than any year before it! Right? 

Think back to your first day of kindergarten. How did it feel? For me, it felt like finally getting to join a near-sacred group. There was a parochial school in my neighborhood, and for years I had watched the “big girls” walk by in their green plaid jumpers and yellow shirts with green ascots. When I started kindergarten at that school, it felt so cool donning the ensemble I had seen so many before me wear. Waiting for my mother to pick me up from my first day, I was bursting to tell her the news about my teachers and new classmates.  Fourth grade – I finally convinced my mom to get me the Holy Grail of cool for a kid at my school – the rolling backpack! This was going to be my first year with big, heavy textbooks, and I convinced my mom that I needed the extra assistance of the wheels to carry all my stuff. Sixth grade – by now sick of the “little kid” uniform, I was eager to graduate from the plaid jumper to the plaid skirt which distinguished the middle schoolers from the elementary schoolers. I walked into school with my head held high as I walked for the first time into the middle school wing upstairs. Eighth grade – I was put in a section with my favorite teacher, with all my friends, and with class parents who would ensure that us graduating eighth graders would have plenty of fun, commemorative activities throughout the year – what could be better? So on and so forth through high school and college. 

Every year, I started out excited. However, somewhere along the way, I started maintaining less and less of that excitement as the academic year went on. Part of it might be the workload getting harder and heavier. Part of it might be growing up and not being so easily excited. As I start my senior year of college, applying to grad schools but largely unsure of what comes next, I will live in the present and acknowledge the future… but I also want to remember my past. It has been a long journey to get to where I am now, but perhaps if I think of my first days gone by, I might be able to tap into the boundless excitement of younger versions of myself on their first days of school. With that energy I can tackle the challenges and embrace the excitements of my final year of college! I’d like to encourage you all, particularly my fellow seniors, to do the same.