My mother has always hated the end of August and the beginning of September. As summer ended and the new school year began, I always remember her getting a little sad. She would tell me that she didn’t like the change. That even though she knew it was good for me and my brothers to head back to school, she missed having us at home and that the transition was a difficult one.
I, on the other hand, loved school starting up again. The beginning of September reminds me of first-day-of-school excitement, the promise of new classes, the first cool drafts of fall (I grew up in Oklahoma, where summer doesn’t last quite as long as it does in Texas), and the freedom of fresh starts. Every year, I had my back-to-school outfit planned out days (if not weeks) in advance. I compared class schedules with friends, desperately hoping for classes together. I picked out the perfect school supplies at Walmart, stocking up on new pens and folders. My dad (who usually left for work before I was even up, bless his soul) stayed home each first-day-of-school morning to cook my brothers and I breakfast. My mom made us pose, backpacks and big smiles on, in front of the rose bushes for a traditional first-day-of-school picture. Then I grabbed my back pack and walked to my elementary school, or caught the bus to my middle school, or got in my car and drove myself to my high school, or of course, hopped on the 1L/1M with my roommate to make it to campus in time for my 9:30 class. My belly full of eggs and first day of school jitters, I bravely faced the new beginning.
My last first day of school (I’m graduating in December) came and went this past Thursday with little fanfare on my part. The eager excitement I once felt replaced instead with a state of boredom, a state of apathy, almost. I made my own breakfast (by which I mean: peeled a banana and scooped out a spoonful of almond butter). I tossed some notebooks into my old beat up backpack (notebooks I only had because I was lucky enough to remember to pick them up while at HEB a few days before). I threw on whatever clothes I found first and took a nostalgic first-day-of-school picture to text to my mom.
I walked the grounds at the University of Texas, a campus that has ceased, long ago, to be a new place to me, and I felt. I felt old. I felt unsure for the future. I felt confused that it could be my last first day of school. I felt like summer sped by. I felt weird being on campus after so many of my friends had graduated in May. I felt overwhelmed. Most of all I felt, of course, at home.
For this week’s writing prompt, write a story about the first day of school. Write from any point-of-view you’d like: a student, a parent, a teacher, a janitor. Write about your own memories of the first day of school or, if you’d prefer, write the memories of a made-up character. However you chose to do so, just make sure to write!