As students and teachers are gearing up to head back to school, and as one of us is coming off of his 20th high school reunion, we’ve been finding ourselves reminiscing about the good old days. I don’t mean “the good old days” like our parents do when they tell us about going to watch the submarine races in the ’60s. I mean “the good old days” like how cluelessly lucky we were to just be students.
Sure, there were bullies and tests. And questionable cafeteria offerings. But our biggest concern as elementary school students was wondering how we could play football at the bus stop without getting our school clothes dirty. Remember when we thought high school agenda books were stressful? God forbid we let our teachers sign us out of class to use the bathroom without throwing a fit. Then we went to college and realized that block scheduling, in fact, was not at all preparing us for the amazing freedom that college schedules afforded us (nice try, Liverpool High School).
Being a student was a million times better than having dry clean-only clothes and overflown sump pumps. No matter how appealing these “adult” things were when we were younger, let’s all agree that they’re shit compared to being a student.
As August is coming to an end and lunch boxes and backpacks are closing in on us, we’ve been trading stories and realized many of our anecdotes are about us screwing up or embarrassing ourselves. We decided it was time to come clean.
I’ll go first.
It wasn’t until I was working on my 9th grade science project that I understood the true beauty of procrastination. I wasn’t a good enough student to be involved in a science fair project, so I had to present on a national park (was that how it worked?). I knew about the task for months, but somehow found myself just starting it the night before it was due. I was in our computer room with my tri-fold display, Mr. Sketch markers (likely huffing the cinnamon one pretty seriously), and an IV drip of Adirondack cola.
I pulled my first ever all-nighter.
I remember that my presentation was on Zion National Park and that I read, red faced, verbatim from my index cards (sorry, Mr. Williams), but what I really took away from this endeavor were two important life lessons:
- I could waste only one entire night on a project rather than several evenings and weekends.
- A dot matrix printer will blow you in to your parents at 3 a.m.
Now you go.
Tell us about some of your favorite classes, lessons learned, or memories—fond or otherwise. Or if you’d prefer to stick to snippets of your time at school, head to Facebook and join in the conversation.
Or just let us know if composition notebooks are still a thing. We’re dying to know.