August is here again, bringing that familiar bittersweet feeling of endings and beginnings as we try to soak up every last bit of summer possible before school starts again and the days start getting shorter and colder. For the first time since I was four years old, I will not spend August preparing for a new school year. It’s a weird feeling.
I always loved school and I have a deep and abiding passion for school/office supplies (nerd alert). All through elementary and secondary school, school supply shopping day absolutely thrilled me. I’m sure it didn’t thrill my poor mother, who had to deal with me not only painstakingly choosing my folders, binders, notebooks, pens, etc. and checking off my class list, but also drooling over all the other supplies that weren’t on my list. Back-to-school was just as exciting a time in college; I couldn’t wait to move back to campus, see my friends again, find out what adventures the semester had in store for me. Even in grad school, where August and the renewal of semester responsibilities was laced with existential dread, I felt a little giddy at our department’s annual beginning-of-year meeting.
This August, I seem to be feeling that giddy bittersweet excitement out of habit. I finished my degree last Spring (did I mention I’m Dr. Sara now??) and have been working full-time in academic publishing for several months, which means that now, August is just another month for me. The need to soak up the sun is still there — not least because my apartment complex’s pool is only open through Labor Day (even though we live in the South where it’s warm til October…but I digress). The imminent onset of Fall, with its pumpkin-flavored everything, Halloween decorations, sweater weather, Halloween movies, cozy nesting energy, and did I mention Halloween?, still fills me with a deep and urgent need to make warm beverages and knit all the things. But this year, the only thing all this anticipation is building toward is turning over a new page on the calendar. No new school year, no fresh start, no clean slate. Just another work week. Thank you, next.
I’ve spent the last few years saying that I’m tired of school, and I am. 25 years of nonstop school is more than enough, thank you very much! But I am a little sad not to have an excuse to buy new sticky notes and journals and start afresh this August. I might just have to do it anyway.