By Carley Wright
As the month of August nears its end, a familiar feeling begins to bubble up inside of me. We all know the feeling. It’s the one that tends to settle deep within the pit of your stomach. An anxious feeling, with a sprinkle of nervousness, and a pinch of excitement mixed in. An overwhelming sense of dread prompting itself each year, at the exact same of time of the year, from the average ages of 5 to 22… It’s back to school we go!
At a young age, we all felt that familiar feeling. Those last few days of summer vacation were drifting off and it was like we were nearing the edge of a cliff, with our only option being to jump. Out of nowhere, commercials offering slashed school supply prices began to interrupt our favorite programs, and we were receiving flyers in the mail reminding us of the quickly approaching “Meet the Teacher” day. We were waking up from the best possible dream and walking straight into what felt like an adolescent nightmare. Sure, there were rushes of excitement thrown into the mix of emotions as we boarded the bus on that first day, seeing the faces of friends we missed for the past two months. And surely by the second week of school, that feeling in the pit of our stomachs slowly began to subside. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be for another few months before we began the countdown to summer once again.
Looking back on it now, this feeling seems more like a tradition than anything else. One of the many memorable moments of being a kid. Getting the end of summer blues, accompanied by the first day of school jitters was in a way, a rite of passage. By the time you finish your educational journey, those feelings disappear, and new emotions begin to prompt themselves. Feelings that are inevitably associated with your grand entrance into the real world of being an adult; no longer able to be caught by the safety net that is school.
I entered that new, real world two years ago when I graduated from college. I disposed of my first day of school jitters and instead, filled up with questions of what to do next. It wasn’t until about four months ago that I discovered that I wanted to feel those jitters once again and return back to school. I wanted to further my education and grow as a human in a new field. I wanted to dread the summer ending but feel excited for a new journey to begin. And funnily enough, as the end of August approached, and registration emails began to fill my inbox, I felt those same feelings all over again, as if I were my 8-year-old self, stepping onto the school bus for the first day of the new school year.
Going back to school was always something I imagined for myself, but never did I think the opportunity would present itself so quickly. The fact of the matter is, the pandemic has changed things. It has changed people’s livelihoods, it has changed their mentalities, and it has changed the way they go about their day to day lives. It’s easy to see the negative change brought on by this pandemic. But within all of that negativity, came glimmers of positive change. The possibility for new adventures, new opportunities and new daily lives. It’s always easy to see the negative effects, and what we no longer have. But what if we decided to change our point of view and see all that still stands? More importantly, what if we saw all of the possibility right in front of us to create positivity within our changing lives?
School is different for everyone. It means different things to different people. Students go back for different reasons. For me, like for so many others, school is that possibility of positivity. It brings new knowledge and new challenges. It brings both wanted and unwarranted doors for endless opportunities. And currently, it’s bringing a new sense of hope to an environment that I once felt lost in.
This new school year will be different. Truthfully, this school year will be one unlike any of its predecessors because of the pandemic. However, this school year will be a new beginning. And if that comes with the all too familiar feelings of dread, excitement, adrenaline and nervousness… I say, bring it on!
Carley Wright, originally from Buford, Georgia, is a BA Communications and Media major at CUNY SPS. Her primary focus is centered in journalism and digital content creation. Carley is an accomplished writer/editor as well as website designer and is looking forward to further developing her skills while at CUNY.