First Day of School

Throughout my childhood, the day after Labor Day was the first day back to school. I was always so excited for that day. After what I perceived as a long, boring summer, I got to return to the land of my friends, a structured environment, and me being me, the loving embrace of external validation through my grades. I was teacher’s pet heaven.

It seems kids these days are starting much earlier in the year. Am I imagining things or did the school year grow or at least stretch out?

Although I let people know last week that I won’t be returning to school any time soon, it doesn’t mean I’m any less nostalgic for this time of year.

I was strolling through a big box store and stumbled into the school supply section, which wasn’t hard since it seems like it had taken over nearly half the aisles. I love school supplies. I did buy 2 composition books.

Composition Books

While they aren’t the same as when I went to school, cheap plastic covers instead of the hard black ones, they definitely were worthy of getting through into the cart. Unlike the really fancy notebooks, I will actually write in composition books. With the fancy ones, I’m too afraid I’ll make a mistake, and a cross-through is so unworthy of a book that nice. Yes, I am a freak.

Several of the supply items spoke to me in different ways. Look at the latest Trapper Keeper equivalent.

Case It Organizer

Holy cow! I would have wanted one of those! Of course, I had a Trapper Keeper, but it was so lost on me. Before classes started, I would diligently label each folder, certain that I would be able to keep things organized. I never did. I wanted to be organized with my school notes, I just didn’t know how. Something clicked when I went to college. I learned that the folders I carried to class didn’t have to contain everything related to the class, only the things I would need in class. Every old paper I’d ever turned in didn’t need to make the trip.

Also while in college, I discovered the art of studying off of 3×5 index cards.

3 x 5 Cards

To prepare for tests, I would write a keyword on the front and the definition, significance, etc., on the back. These little cards were a life saver. I’d carry them with me, so whenever I had a few moments to spare, I could go over my cards. My fellow history majors thought I was insane until one asked to look at them. They couldn’t believe how much I could squeeze on the back of those little cards, and how useful the technique could be. Not that anyone else ever adopted it.

What are some of your back to school memories? or Is anyone else still enamored with school supplies?

10 thoughts on “First Day of School”

  1. I love school supplies! Always have. And yes, the school year starts earlier for many – much to my chagrin. There is nothing magical about returning to school in 95 degree weather with 98% humidity. Nothing. It just makes the back to school feeling so negative. At least for me…maybe I’m strange. I recall the day after Labor Day being tinged with crispness in the air, the need for a light jacket in the morning, to be shed at lunchtime recess and slung behind me on the way to the car pickup line. Do we even have seasons anymore that aren’t extreme summer and extreme winter?


    1. So glad I am not alone in my love for school supplies.

      School should not be in session when it is that hot!!!!!

      In Southern California we had a very mild summer … until the last 2 weeks. Suddenly it feels like we all moved to Florida: High 90s and high humidity. We are desert creatures. We are melting in a world where it doesn’t cool down to jacket weather at night!


  2. Back to school was always a little nerve-racking for me, mostly because of not what I would learn, but what I would WEAR. My kids love it too, for different reasons, but I’m convinced it’s mostly because they get to spend time with their friends and not their crazy mother who sometimes flies off the handle for minor infractions like breathing too loud, especially at the end of summer. 🙂


    1. What I learned in high school was after the first week, no one really cared what anyone was wearing any more, at least not among my circle of friends. Then again, we were really jeans and tshirts kind of people.

      I longed to go back to school to have company again – I was by myself most of the time during the LONG summer break. I think it would have been nice to have my mom home, but then again, the grass is always greener. I’m sure we would have driven each other crazy after 3 months!

      You’ll have time to regroup and find your inner calm before Christmas break!


  3. So I’m not the only one who used a ton of 3×5 cards to study with in college? Now I’m not alone. That was my preferred method for studying back in the day. I also used it to study for classes when I was earning my master’s degree. I credit that method to getting near perfect scores on many of my classes recently.

    I actually haven’t been to the school supplies area this year. I do go through it when it comes around. I’ll buy a few things here and there if I need them. But this year I don’t need anything. That might be why I haven’t been there yet.


    1. Wow! Another person who appreciates the value of 3×5 cards as a study tool! We aren’t alone!

      I actually hadn’t realized we were getting ready for back to school time until I saw the huge display. Since the climate here really doesn’t involve seasons, I lose track of the time of year. I guess I have noticed that it’s not light until 8 pm any more. Should have known that was a sign!


  4. I’m absolutely enamored with school supplies. What is so enthralling about spiral notebooks, new pens and index cards? I don’t know exactly – but I fall under their spell. I went to Catholic schools as a kid so a memory for me was getting new black and white shoes and white roll down socks each fall. Big ole deal? Right? Well it was because the rest of the wardrobe was handed down from my older sister – the same old red, gray and navy blue plaid skirts and red cardigan sweaters. I just loved back to school time – the promise of a new year and new stuff to learn and new grades to earn. I still wax nostalgic when walking into a school or even walking around a college campus. All that learning! Love it.


    1. We are related! New school year was all about promise: all that learning, plus the new clothes, even if they are black and white shoes and fresh socks. New is new!

      I should go take a walk on a nearby college campus and be in that vibe. It is an amazing feeling. One is (long) walking distance away. I might have to go do that this weekend.


  5. I also find it difficult to write in a beautiful new notebook – I have so many with ‘ruined’ pages torn out or just left empty! Is crazy! I still miss buying new school supplies every Sept 😛


    1. I’m glad I’m not alone in wanting to preserve the beauty of notebooks. You are right – “ruined” is the perfect word to describe a page with an error beneath those luxurious pages.


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