The start of the school year – fresh book-bags and pencils, back to school commercials and fresh cuts – has had me a bit perplexed in recent years. It’s a bit like a recurring deja vu, that I should wake at the start of September in a cold sweat and hot panic that I’m woefully unprepared to begin my months or intensive study and modest slacking.
But it’s not to be. School’s out for this Collins. No more pencils, no more books. No more teachers, still a few dirty looks.
I’ve been out of the academic world for about five years now – four if you takeaway an online elective I took for kicks. And in due honesty, there was almost a little withdraw those first two years post-academia.
Ahead of the Curve
We are conditioned from the youngest of young age to gear ourselves to the idea that sun and fun come only after the lengthy pursuit of knowledge and self-betterment. Nearly all of our young adult lives are dedicated to that truth.
Some of us have our pre-school, our toddler rearin’ get me ready ahead of the curve classes. Then there’s kindergarten, grades one to 12 and all the silly nonsense that comes with maturity and puberty and growing up and high school. And then you’re done, cold turkey, unless you’re dead set on getting, you know, a paying career.
There’s college or university, the pursuit of a degree or better yet a doctorate or masters program. There’s books and frats and exhaustive soul sucking papers and drinking and hair pulling stress and all the things that you loved and hated about schooling dialed up to 11, but for adults and not teens fighting an internal war on hormones.
But once Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance march blares through the loud speaker of your given gymnasium or auditorium that is, largely, the end of it.
Sure, many of us grapple with the pursuit of knowledge many more times over the course of our lives – cooking classes, DIY beer-making kits, self-help YouTube videos for all manner of nonsense you didn’t know you needed until you need it.
And then there are those brave suckers for punishment who attempt to pursue additional degrees or a return to the classroom with kids in tow or while navigating an unapologetically unaccommodating work schedule. But in terms of the 9-5, books and pens and calculators and teachers you love, and loathe, Alice Cooper did say it best.
Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)
I ask myself, on days like these, do I miss it? Sure, the bulk of my day is spent on a computer – reading, writing and editing, the way the good teachs’ taught me. There are days I miss the structure, comradery and the rare buzz that comes from finding a subject or topic that’s tailor made for that sweet spot in your brain.
But overall, I’m content to watch from afar while my school chums turned shaper-of-minds of today sculpt the blank and bland clay of our nations youth/workers of tomorrow, and my parent friends pack lunches and sign their tots up for after school activities and buy overpriced sneakers and novelty crap no youngster needs. I’m cool with the adult stuff, the bills and housekeeping and trips and banking of memories and good food and better people.
Carpe Diem kids!