A lot of students on Tuesday will be wondering where their classrooms are and where they’re supposed to stash their stuff. A lot of parents, meanwhile, will be wondering what happened to summer.
Summer flew by. It always does. But how it suddenly vanished is perhaps more timely this year because school is starting earlier than normal, and normal – mid-August – is plenty early. It’s supposed to be the peak of the pool season; instead, it’s time for moms to send their children to the bus stop or ferry them to school themselves.
Central enrollment July 30? Weren’t workers still dismantling the Riley County Fair that day? And the first day of school Aug. 12? Geez. Do we attribute this to global warming or the polar vortex or some as yet unidentified phenomenon?
As for back-to-school shopping, that apparently began the day after the Country Stampede ended. Folks who haven’t done it better hurry. Not only will all the stuff every student absolutely has to have be gone, but stores will be sweeping the school paraphernalia away to make room for Halloween candy and costumes. Goblins don’t like waiting.
On the bright side, Tuesday’s half-day is an acclimation event and ought to be painless. Well, except perhaps for teen-agers for whom waking up in time for school might be the most arduous challenge of the day. It ought to get easier with practice.
Before long, school will become routine — one quite different from summer’s but one that can be abundantly enjoyable in its own way.
Funny thing about the first day and week of school. No matter how much they moan and grown, more kids are looking forward to it — even excited about getting started — than are dreading it. After all, it’s where all their friends will be, and where, whether they’re in elementary school or high school, they’ll find that school is where they’re most likely to make new friends.
That’s not all they’ll find, of course. There will be lessons, yes, and homework, too. There will be as much to learn as students can absorb, and many students will be surprised, even thrilled, at the discoveries they make. Some will take to choir, others to band or art or athletics. Some young students will discover they have a knack for numbers while older students who have long since made that discovery will wade through AP calculus.
Once students in this city and elsewhere settle in to their new routines, what happened over the summer won’t matter nearly as much as what’s happening next week or the week after.
Then one day, almost out of nowhere, summer will beckon again.