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Back to School Challenge: Ghosts of the Past and Soon to Come

Back when I was young and blissfully ignorant, I loved the leading up and the first week of school. I would get my birthday money from my great-aunt in Ohio for my birthday and used that to buy my school supplies. The smell of opening up a fresh pack of notebook paper and putting it in my binder is euphoric. Don't get me started on the book bags. The one I picked out had to fit my books and the occasional jacket. I was excited to get new clothes to wear, see my friends that I'll be in class with and who my teacher will be for that year. As I grew up and entered the grades that consisted of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, puberty sets in and everyone around me started learning how to wear tampons, makeup, cologne, and kissing that lucky guy or girl for the first time. The end goal for those years was graduating onto high school wearing rose-colored glasses.

Once high school started, it wasn't about the endorphin-inducing scent of school supplies (you kept that a heavily-guarded secret), but about the outfits and the hairstyles to usher in the four years of life and who you became in that short time span. It was also about the rumors that will spread faster than the latest viral YouTube video that's out today. I've had my fair share of rumors about me, and I neither confirm or deny any of them. The friends I once had in elementary school suddenly aren't your friends anymore due to petty teenage politics, but that's okay. Life wasn't fair in the hierarchy of high school life, but life does take an interesting turn when a little thing called karma enters the picture. Peer pressure combined with getting good grades to go to college, extracurricular activities and raging hormones collided to make the meekest student turned into something he or she isn't. End goal: graduate and seeing everyone ten years later at the reunion.

College first days are set up a lot different. Some move away to live in the dorms and get away from their families, while some chose to commute to school and stay at home to save money. You choose a major and set your schedule to work around any activities you're involved in. I took some night classes so I can work during the day. Most of my classes were either in the morning or on Saturdays, depending on the class. I wasn't too interested in joining clubs, but couldn't thanks to my schedule. I did get the chance to be in the honor society and write for the school's newspaper. I returned many years later to community college, obtained my Associate's degree and have the goal to get my Bachelor's degree once I transferred to a four-year school. I'm a few classes short of obtaining that as I write. My next end goal is to get that degree with honors and get my Master's degree, also with honors. I'll save those first days of school stories for another day.

Now as a parent, I was nervous about sending my toddler to daycare. I wanted to keep her at home until she can talk good enough and potty-trained before she went to preschool. My mom gently reminded me that she needed to go now so she can talk more. She’s there now, and next year she’ll go to preschool, then kindergarten, and have many first days of school in the future.

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