Back to wonderful school

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:56 PM

Every year, in August, the country is subjected to flyers and commercials about getting the kids ready to go back to school. New clothes, new shoes, and of course, new supplies. I remember when I was little and going back to school. I’m sure we had to get new shoes and new notebooks and pencils, but I don’t remember it being a huge deal. It was just the end of summer and therefore, the end of freedom as we knew it. When Justin was little, back to school was different. At the end of each summer, we’d trot off to Target and outfit him with new clothes and shoes. Then we’d go to Staples to get whatever school supplies he needed. Notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators. As he got older, computers were involved.

I haven’t thought about back to school much since we sent him off to college. Once he was gone, he was gone. He never came home to live again. We helped with money, but he bought his own stuff as needed. It’s as it should be as you get older.

There used to be some great television commercials about back to school. The one that always comes to mind is the one with the Christmas song “the most wonderful time of the year,” with the parents experiencing sheer bliss while the kids are dragging their feet as they go through some store (maybe Staples?). It works because all parents get it. After having the kids home all summer, it’s time. It also works because of the juxtaposition. Kids are usually the ones who are excited, because of Christmas. But with the Christmas song used for back to school, it’s the parents who are excited.

On Monday, I’m going back to school. Last spring, I applied to a writing program at Stanford University and I was accepted. It’s a two-year program, done entirely online. Each semester is a quarter so there are four quarters of class each year. I believe I’ll be in school for seven of the next eight quarters. I thought I’d be in school for eight but I found out that the classes I’d taken previously fulfill an elective requirement which would have taken up one of the quarters. 

I didn’t buy new clothes, though I did get new sneakers. I’m still using the same computer; I didn’t need a new notebook or pencils/pens. I have plenty of both. But I feel like a kid again. The summer is winding down. The heat has begun to dissipate. The days are warm but the nights are cooling. The days are shorter. It’s dark earlier.

Today the first lecture and assignments were posted. I love that they tell us that each week is only 4 – 6 hours. Because what they tell us is wrong. Our first “assignment” was an introduction and an elevator pitch for what we’ll be writing about during this program. Then there is reading and two other writing assignments along with several discussion points. Just next week. Each week is going to be like that.

And I can’t wait. Bring it on. Because I’m going back to school and that’s something I’m celebrating. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year.

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live out loud

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