I have been kind of struggling with getting into the “back-to-school” groove. This is not a good thing when you’re a professor as all of your lesson planning is best done before the semester begins. (For me, at least, since the first month of school is usually preoccupied by fall TV season premieres.) It took me awhile before I realized that my disassociation from excitement concerning a return to campus coincided with my complete disconnect from television this summer.
With all the traveling I do between the last and first day of school, I had my cable turned off to save myself the expense. Which means that any TV I did watch–because you know I didn’t just go SVU-less–was watched on download, thus, no commercials.
This sparse, TV-viewing summer parallels the summer of 1996 when I was working a dismal corporate job and a trip to Europe was my answer to getting me as far away as possible from my cubicle. I spent some time in Prague and I remember standing on the Charles Bridge, looking out over the Vltava River. In an effort to jot down some tidbits in my travel journal, I noted the date and realized it was Labor Day. School had started back in the states and I had totally missed it.
Are you getting the picture? I had not seen any Back-to-School commercials! Which means, I had not seen (or heard) anyone talking about the best thing on the planet to spend your money on: school supplies.
I used to LOVE buying new school supplies as a kid. I loved having a brand new pencil box—always pressed cardboard for us, no plastic boxes, so a new one was a big deal since it still both opened and closed and wasn’t held together with masking tape (which was usually the standard by October). I also loved the full Elmer’s glue bottle. How many of you spread glue all over your hands then spent most of First Friday mass peeling it off your fingers? (Catholic school. What can I say?) And of course, the brand new box of crayons, with in-box sharpener.
Shopping for school supplies got me excited about returning to school. When that list arrived in the mail (they didn’t post them at Office Supply simply because Office Supply didn’t yet exist), you ran around the house trying to get your mom to confirm a date for shopping. All of those new products were yours, yours alone, and you didn’t even have to share them with a sibling since you were never in the same grade.
I realize that in missing the back-to-school commercials on TV, I have missed the excitement over new school supplies. The best solution, of course, is to just head on out on my own timeframe, bring my list and have at it. So I did.
I seemed to have traded in a lot of the types of supplies I buy these days. Since my teaching is paperless, out are notebooks, folders and new pens. For this new school year, I bought a new 2T external hard drive, a flatbed scanner and updated my Mac with Lion.
And you know what? I am still damn excited about school supplies.