September 01 – the gloss of new notebooks, the satisying zip of refilled backpacks, the crisp snap of fall in the air (well, that last one is a lie – it’s warmer now than it’s been all summer). All these things have never failed to nudge my internal clock into that familiar space that is always accompanied by both a sigh of resignation and a frisson of anticipation : back to school has arrived once again.
This year, I found myself standing at a bus stop, feeling a vague sense of coupled familiarity and unease … I was experiencing a well-known feeling, and yet it didn’t feel quite right. Finally I realised that the air felt like that first week back at school : the smell of well-worn hallways and looseleaf and jeans that haven’t been worn since May and the slightly smoky, acrid smell of leaves . The bus in the morning was slowly filling with students, backpacks slung over one shoulder, hurrying with purpose mixed with dread towards their first classes, instead of my accustomed crowd of nurses and techs heading to work. I smiled with anticipation at the thought of a new year of classes and sighed with resignation at all that came with a new semester…
and then it slowly dawned on me that I was now part of that crowd of nurses and techs, heading off to work. My schedule was no longer determined by the turning of a calender page. I didn’t need to rush to attempt to fulfill my annual quest of finding a new binder for under $12 (I’m cheap and impossible to please). I didn’t need to sit for endless hours in a useless conseiller‘s office, praying that my class schedule will result in something productive at the end of the year. I had done that, and I will probably do it again, but this year, I am not a full-time student.
I’ve missed school supply shopping this year. I’m sad at the thought of not spending my days on familiar campuses, surrounded by like-minded friends, able to gripe and complain and encourage and buy unneccessary french fries for lunch in the Centre. I’ll miss taking notes, feeling my brain wrench apart, and then rereading them later and feeling the Aha finally click in my brain, followed by that sense of glee that I’ve learnt something astounding, something significant, something that I can’t wait to learn more about.
It occurs to me that I’m finally using that Aha – I’m in a job, spending 8 hours every day putting that Aha into tangible practice and learning more about what caused the Aha in the first place. I’m proud of that, and excited by that, and awed that I have the chance to do that so quickly after graduating.
I have to keep reminding myself that now that I’m no longer a student, I have time for all those other things I’ve always wanted to do, non-school things, like going out in the evenings and having weekends free …
and now I have the time to take all those evening classes I never had time in my schedule to take!