I remember the fizzy feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach every night before the first day of school.
In June when summer is new, the fall seems eons away. The air is humid and heavy and the scent of dew on grass practically demands that students tuck their anxieties away in their lockers until they return…
And then, suddenly, it all comes roaring back. The academic year.
It wasn’t that I was a bad student or disliked my classes. I just hated the unshakable feeling of stress that permeated every aspect of my life once school was back in session.
Between classes and homework and sports and theater, there was barely time to breathe. And even so, I always tried to one-up myself. Each year I threw something new into the mix. Why take one language when you can take two? Yup. Spanish and Latin, I got this.
And then, the next year I couldn’t stop there. Why take two languages when you can take three? Throw in some French? Mais oui!
AP classes and acapella. Varsity lacrosse and musical rehearsals. There were boyfriends and girl friends and group projects and school trips and it all just swirled together for years of smiles and tears and sweat and sleep and numbers and letters until finally, finally it came to a halt.
I certainly brought the stress on myself but it never seemed like there was any other option. I had to live up to ridiculous expectations that I set for myself.
Now, a decade after my first year of high school, I’m relieved to be done. With no homework or problem sets or late night study sessions, I’m thrilled to be in the real world with only one job to do. It’s not that work today is easy or carefree, but it doesn’t even begin to compare to the stresses of school life.
So, when everyone else is buzzing with barely-contained back-to-school excitement, I just breathe a sigh of relief that I’m done with that stage of my life. Probably forever.