First Day of School, I Love You

This admission that I am about to make may come across as completely nerdy. What you are about to hear is something my friends are constantly making fun of me for. It is an admission that is avoided on first dates for the mere fact that it leaves the listener staring at me as though I am a leper with three eyes. But no matter how I try and fight it, how I work to conceal this truth, I just can’t hide it.

I, Carly Lanning, love the first day of school.

It’s true! I love everything about it from the buying of my books for the upcoming quarter to picking out new pens for the year.

I am sure right now you are trying to conjure up a picture of me and a girl with pigtails resembling Pippy Longstocking with a headgear and huge thick-rimmed glasses is coming to mind. Though, yes, I do wear glasses and yes, I did have a traumatic relationship with  headgear in junior high, I like to think I am not entirely strange.

Growing up, my mom was an elementary school teacher so the excitement of the first day of school was bred into me. There was no hope for escape; first days and I were meant to be in love.

I mean, how can you blame me for being excited? The first day is really the best! The new freshmen look lost, classes are let out early once we are done covering the syllabus, we reconnect with old friends, find attractive classmates that will hold our attention throughout the quarter, plan what to be involved with for the next year and enjoy being back on a campus.

I start planning weeks before the day arrives, going out to Target to get my new folders and notebooks. This year, in honor of my maturity as an upcoming senior, I am going with a Captain America folder to occupancy my Bubble Bee Transformer notebook. Though I had to fight off a fourth-grade boy for the notebook, it was completely worth it.

I start thinking about what I want to wear, what I need to bring, if I should get new shoes … It’s a process that I have perfected and become accustomed to over the last 16 years of schooling.

While moving into my new apartment and looking through my 21 new books I have for the quarter, it dawned on me that this would be my last first day of school. That after this year, after the 17 million hours of reading for class, the 23,000 papers about books I blocked from my memory after I turned the work in and the hundreds of finals — I would be walking away from UC Irvine into the real world. I realized then that my love for first days was much deeper than the surface level of notebooks and cute shoes.

For me, the first day is a fresh start; a restart button to erase the mistakes that last quarter carried but still leaves me with the knowledge of how to do better. Walking into my first couple of classes thrills me with the overwhelming possibilities for the future. For all of us, the first day is a chance to begin lasting friendships, to learn and to grow and to change for the better. The first day of school is also discouraging, as we realize that our careless days of summer are now over and are replaced with the newness of fall shining bright.

I can’t quite believe it, the first day of school, a day that in my mind is a celebrated holiday, is shortly coming to an end. It seems a little silly, being excited for this day that no one else even likes. But to be honest, the idea of graduating and responsibilities that come with being an adult seems scary and unknown.

For my last first day, I am challenging myself to embrace all that this year has to offer. This is my chance to try new opportunities, to not be afraid to raise my hand in class, to ask someone to a sushi date, to laugh more, to work hard, to write as much as I can, to appreciate the beautiful people in my life and leave with no regrets.

First days — I will miss you and thank you for holding my hand through school. I might be seeing you again someday in the future, but until then, I hope you will hold the magic for others that you always held for me.