September 2, 2014

That Time of Year

Today felt like all the students in the city returned to class. I know in some schools classes started last week and in some others they'll start next week, but today really felt like the first day back to school. The subway was filled with students of all ages carrying their backpacks and heading to their first class of the new year, and so were the streets all over.

To me, there is, and always has been, a special kind of energy on this day - a mix of nerves, excitement and anticipation; a new season and at the same time a feeling of coming home in some way. This is the second year in a row when September doesn't bring me back to class like all those other students I saw this morning on my commute to work, and I'm feeling a bit conflicted about it. There's a slight knot in my stomach and it still doesn't feel real. It still feels like a sort of extended vacation and, when I think about it, my brain can't wrap itself around the idea that that part of my life is over - the part where most of my time is spent going to class, doing homework, reading textbooks, putting together presentations, going to team project meetings and taking tests every few months or so.

School was my safe place. Being in a classroom facing the teacher was my safe place. Sinking my nose into those textbooks - whether in time for tests or not - was my safe place. Spending countless hours doing research online and off for projects was my safe place. Being a student was my safe place. Two years later, life still feels odd without it all at times, and never more than in the beginning of September.

Over the last two years I've been in a lot of new, nerve-wracking and challenging situations and I've missed that feeling of safety. I know that every September from now on there will be something tugging at my heart strings, and I'm not sure what my future will look like, but I hope that the word "school" will make its way inside it again in some way or another.

Until then, to all the students going back there today, no matter how much or how little you like being in school right now, take your time and savour it. Work will be there for many long decades afterwards.

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