It’s August and there is a very specific smell in the air. A smell that contains essences of new sneakers, pencil lead, and whatever Staples sprays into every three-ring binder that passes through its doors. It’s a once-a-year smell. A mixed emotions smell.
Call me crazy (actually, that’s MISS Crazy to you), but I miss school so freaking much. I miss the nerves – Are the rumors about my social studies teacher true? – and I miss the excitement – Will everyone notice that I finally got contacts this year? (Watch out, Tommy B. I’m coming for you.)
I wish I was buying school supplies right now. $50 worth of Lisa Frank folders (which I was never allowed to buy because obviously the 99¢ Office Max brand folders will work just as well) might greatly improve my life and productivity. I could be on the Honor Roll of Life with the right school supplies collecting dust on my desk!
After spending a whole summer with your “neighborhood friends,” it was always exhilarating to walk into class to see who you’d be sitting next to. Class friends were the people with whom you shared homework and secrets, but rarely saw outside of school. They knew you in a way that no one else did. They saw you struggle through pop quizzes and survive getting called to the blackboard. Sometimes, if your teacher was cool, your class friends were the ones who bumped your thumb during 7-Up.
Like, sure they were stressful beyond measure at the time, but I wish I could have a few weeks in my adult life where the most important thing I’m worrying about is who I am going to hold hands with at a Cheesecake Factory while wearing a fluffy dress from Charlotte Russe. I would much rather be spazzing out about a homecoming date than my W-2 forms. Or whatever. Side note: Why did no one teach me about taxes in high school while my brain was still malleable?
I know, what a FREAK. But when it came to studying for tests, I knew exactly what to do: memorize the vocab, practice the essay writing, type the cheat notes into my Ti-83. Being a grown-up is almost never like that. I can’t spend an evening making flash cards while watching The O.C. and be better at what I do the next day. Earning an A+ used to be almost addicting, but now there’s no such thing. I recently had to take a written test to get my driver’s license renewed and it was NOT the same.
Ugh — I’m almost done yearning for yesteryear, I promise — I miss extracurriculars. I miss ending the day with the best thing and the best friends. I’ll take auditioning for the school play over running a meeting at work any day. I’d even maybe go to soccer practice if that was an option.
Maybe that nostalgic back-to-school smell is a reminder to let a little bit of school in our lives. Read a book you’d never normally read, try to do math without a calculator, maybe find a class you can go to after work. Create your own recess in the middle of the day, look up some historical facts about where you live, buy a back-to-school outfit even if you don’t technically need it. At the very least, take a deep breath of that oh so schooly scent — it comes but once a year, but the memories will last a lifetime.