In Education: Deep breath – I’m going back to school

In Education: Deep breath – I’m going back to school

I recently did my own back-to-school shopping.

I managed to get out of bed at 7:30 the other morning.

I woke up at seven, but there was no way I was physically leaving my warm cocoon until the sun was up.

It was a test-run. Practice. I’ve got to get back in the swing of things because I’m– okay, got to stop and take a breath here – I’m going back to school.

Yes, those three little words that can strike fear into anyone. It’s not only kids and teens who are affected by back to school. It’s college and university students, it’s drivers– because school zones will be in affect again and traffic congestion will double. It’s anyone who works in a store that’s going to be overrun by parents and their kids shopping for “back-to-school shopping.”

There are two formats for back-to-school shopping: bleary-eyed parents dragging disheartened, disinterested children through the aisles; and kids running wildly amok through the stores pulling everything off the shelves.

(Thank you to everyone who works in public service at this difficult time of year.)

I recently did my own back-to-school shopping. I like to re-use a lot of things, but let’s face facts – by the time January rolls around, all of my pencils are gone and half my pens have run out of ink. So I rolled into my local Staples, breathed in the store’s unique smell (a mixture of new paper, anticipation, and sadness), and pulled out my back-to-school List.

The list is scratched out on the back of an empty envelope, and includes items such as pens (do I want colourful pens this year?), a new binder (why are there so many sizes?), and pencils (should I grab three boxes?).

The List is short. I probably forgot something important, but there isn’t a nice, organized school supply list printed on a brightly coloured piece of paper, no convenient online list on the school website, not when you get into high school.

My ‘list’ encompasses all the regular school supplies, and I even thought to add a few items of clothing.

My brother’s list is not short. It is long, very, very long. It includes seven packages of 200 sheets of lined paper – that’s 1,400 sheets of paper.

My mother decided that must be a typo – what Grade 7 kid needs 1,400 sheets of paper?

The bill comes to more than $200 just for the two of us. Thankfully there are charitable organizations within the community that distribute school supplies through our local food bank for those in need.

Schools can also help out if parents make an appointment to speak to an administrator or counsellor.

There are, however, some things that not even the most dedicated back-to-school shopper can find at the store. Stores do not sell self-confidence. Back-to-school time can be difficult not simply because it means spending extra money, or that classes begin again, but because summer ends and we have to leave fun in the sun and the leaves start to change colours.

Back to school actually started in June, when the ad campaigns began. I hope I wasn’t the only one yelling at my television not to rush me.

Now, if you’ve been to a dollar store, you’ll notice that the back-to-school products have already been replaced with Halloween supplies.

I’m OK with actually going back to school, since fall is my favourite season – pumpkin spice lattés, leaf piles.

Back to school means getting up early and doing a Tim’s run with my mum. It means new classes and new teachers. It means Iget to label all of my school supplies.

It all starts Tuesday.

Welcome back to school.

Marlowe Evans is a senior student at Thomas Haney

secondary and a member of the school’s student council.