The Last First Day: Back to School

September 18, 2013

This is the year when “back to school” became back to responsibility. This is how it works: back to responsibility means back to worrying, back to worrying means an avalanche of anxiety about future job prospects, future apartment searches, future relationships. This is the state of things. This is what it means to be twenty-one and not blissfully ignorant of the fact that this is my last first day of school, my last chance to run back to mom and dad and say, “Wait! Help! 911, this is an emergency: this is 16 years of education, 21 years of life all leading up to THIS MOMENT?” A cluttered MacBook desktop. A syllabus in a color-coded folder. I am a list—an ever-growing list of unfinished business: assignments I have yet to complete, shopping I have yet to do, appointments I have yet to make, meetings I have yet to schedule, e-mails I have yet to send.

Iris Read It’s not so bad. I find ways to make myself happy: a new Moleskine, a new wardrobe, a new set of sheets and a renovation of my bedroom. I buy my books and organize my schedule. I check boxes and sign forms. I drink more coffee than I should. I take one step at a time, let myself fall into a rhythm. Routine. Structure. My little black and tan puppy Lucy peeks at me from the foot of my bed, quizzically raising her eyebrows and cocking her head, asking me, “is it time to play yet?” I give her a nudge and shift some books around on my bed. I give in. This is the time to play. These are my moments: assignments that cannot wait. Am I ready for the conclusion of my time here? Have I met everyone here I could want to know? Have I completed my “Class of 2014 Bucket List”? Have I even started? This is my only chance to be where I am now—fourth year undergraduate student, standing on the precipice, ready to begin the rest of my life. I make a promise to myself—stop, breathe, enjoy. This is the easy part; we’ll worry about the rest later. By Adelyn Bender. Image Credit:

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