Here I am, once again preparing to face a brand new semester of higher education.
When I was a kid, the day before school started was always a big deal. My sister and I would carefully sort through our new stash of school clothes (which we had dutifully modeled for our grandma the week before) to select our first day outfits and hang them up on our closet doors. It helped us sleep better—helped calm our pre-school jitters—knowing that what we would wear the next day was already in order, and that there’d be no last-minute scrambling for that perfect scrunchie to complete our ensembles. All we had to do was get dressed and not drip toothpaste froth down the front of our shirts, and we’d be golden.
Even as a (sort of) grown up I still utilise this trick on the nights before job interviews (though sadly, it has not catapulted me to success in my later years like it did in the sixth grade—how depressing that I reached and expired my prime before I even started junior high).
As a kid, my dad always gave me a blessing (a special prayer) the night before I started back to school. I had my backpack packed days in advance, with fresh wide rule looseleaf tucked safely in my knock-off Trapper Keeper, prepared for the best my mind and #2 pencils could conjure.
Every year, I set the same goal in August: to get all my permission slips signed early so that I wouldn’t have to forge my mother’s signature thirty seconds before class started on the morning of every field trip day. (Every year, that goal was shot to Shelby by the time the Halloween party rolled around…but I never gave up the fantasy that someday I might be on top of my game.)
I dreaded the end of summer and the classes, homework, and projects it heralded, but I could always find something to look forward to with the onslaught of a new school year. Even if that something was as silly as Daniel Wilsford, that hottie from the classroom over who only ever had eyes for Ashley Carter…it still got me out of bed in the morning with a smile on my pimply face.
This year is different. I have no blessing from my dad (though I’m sure he sends his blessings from Arizona); I’m not bothering to sort through my closet for that perfect outfit because it doesn’t exist—I didn’t buy new school clothes, and nothing I own excites me much these days.
I’m not excited at all; truth be told, I’m not even really nervous. Having just aced a summer school class a few weeks ago, I don’t feel out of practice or insecure or anything.
No, it’s just another semester in what has proven to be the longest, dreariest string of semesters I’ve encountered since the last string of semesters I encountered.
So apathetic am I, in fact, that I cannot fathom having ever courted the idea of graduate school; yet it was not three weeks ago that I announced to the world I’d be getting my Master’s degree after this.
Ha. That was foolish of me. A Master’s degree is not in my future. How could it be, when even a Bachelor’s degree—though only ten classes away—feels barely closer to my grasp than it did the day I graduated from high school six years ago in May.
The only thing that might’ve cheered my heavy heart this semester was the glimmer of hope I fostered for someone to drop out of the Jane Austen class so I could sign up for it (there were only 20 openings and it was filled long before I was allowed to register back in April), but nay—such good fortune is not, nor has it ever been, my lot in life.
Although, I do confess I bought the books for it last week while they were still available used, as a sign of good faith that God would throw me a bone just this once. I have until September 14 before add/drop ends and my faith is shaken beyond its strength.
Just kidding, kind of.