Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's The New Year

Driving Zirpu to BART yesterday I noticed that the private high school along the way was starting. I seem to remember that frosh orientation was last week, so I think all grades started. The public schools here start a week from Monday. Starting before Labor Day seems pretty early to me, but I since I think kids should be on a year-round calendar, and because I don't have kids in school, I don't think it's a big deal.

August rolls around and I have to eye the school supplies. I loved the smell of new binder paper, I liked a new, clean binder (just as much as I liked writing on it during class), and I liked thinking of clever things to write in speech balloons I would attach to the athletes on my PeeChee folders. This was true even when I hated the school I was attending. Sharpening a pencil with a flat tip, measuring the length and breadth of my desk with a new ruler, markers that were still full of ink, writing my name in new textbooks: What joy!

During the years I was at CSH, getting a school uniform was part of shopping for school supplies. Getting a uniform isn't like regular school-clothes shopping, mainly because there was no choice or art in it (the only choice I had in five years was whether I would always wear a cardigan or a sweater vest, and socks in a matching color versus white socks. I chose the vest and the colored socks). It also wasn't like regular clothes shopping because there was no fighting involved and because we went to a uniform warehouse where the complete uniforms were hung on racks standing under schools' names.

I've spent most of my life on an academic calendar. Counting the period of time when my life was impacted by my clients' school calendar, I've been running on an academic calendar for about three-quarters of my time on earth. Something has usually been starting in early September, and besides, my birthday is shortly after school began when I was growing up. It makes more sense to me for "the new year" to start at a season change (from summer to Indian summer, in San Francisco) than during the depths of winter, so I have traditionally thought of the first Tuesday in September as New Year's Day.

I think I'm still adjusting to not having anything "start" in September. Last fall was pretty rough, for a number of reasons, but I think the main one was that it felt like the academic world was moving on without me, which of course it was.

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