That’s right folks – I am currently preparing to start another year of classes Monday and by my count I will be entering grade 20. I decided today that I would give you brief comparison of my preparations for the 20th grade as opposed to the preparations I made for the 5th grade.
Preparing for grade 5: Go back to school shopping for new pencils, markers and hot pink folders.
Preparing for grade 20: Dig through the ever growing pile of stuff on my desk looking for a pen that will write… it will inevitably have the logo of Plavix, Toprol XL or Viagra on it.
Preparing for grade 5: Prepare to write a one page hand written “What I Did With My Summer Vacation” essay that talked about going to summer camp and spending time at the many Minnesota lakes I grew up with.
Preparing for grade 20: Take summer classes instead of summer vacation. During summer classes submit a manuscript to peer reviewed journal… anxiously awaiting response.
Preparing for grade 5: Spend hours making sure you have the really cool book covers to put on the textbooks that will be “mine” for the next 9 months.
Preparing for grade 20: Spend hours calling and /or emailing everyone I know whose already taken these classes, raid the library and professors offices for old editions and check out all of the online discount booksellers trying to get textbooks for the next semester without having to sell body parts on the black market.
Preparing for grade 5: School bus worry… which bus is mine, how early does it get to my house, where do I sit in order to maximize time spent with friends and minimize time spent talking to bus drivers.
Preparing for grade 20: Driving woes… how early do I have to leave my house to get to class on time, where do I park so my car is still there when I’m done with class and why is the check engine light on again…
Preparing for grade 5: Call all of my friends to help pick out the best first day of school outfit.
Preparing for grade 20: Take the white lab coat to the dry cleaners (again).
Looking back the 5th grade had some good things going for it. The 20th grade should be pretty cool, too, though. At the end of the 20th grade, I will have completed another degree and (hopefully) be preparing for PhD studies in grades 21-26 or so. And while the excitement and anxiety do seem to have an inverse relationship with how many times I do this, new school years still come with the promise of a fresh start and new experiences for which I am always thankful.
Happy new school year to all!