A Fresh Start

By the end of each school year, I was spent. My notes, so carefully written in the beginning, were barely legible by the last pages of my notebooks. The freedom of summer was not only about time, but also baggage. Before I left school, I had to give back all of my textbooks. I gladly tossed my notebooks too.  Next year I would study something else.

Each fall brought the excitement of change with almost no risk. I would be safe in the cocoon of my school, but I could start fresh. My new teachers would ask me to open my textbook to the first page. I would write on the blank pages of my notebooks using pens in need of a shake to make their unused ink flow. My new shoes would squeak on shined floors. Each year had the potential to be my best year ever.

Sixteen years since my last first day of school, fall is different. I still delight in the explosion of color on the trees and the relief of crisp air. But fall no longer brings a new beginning.

Outside my office window, students re-populate the law school across the street. New books weigh down their messenger bags as they walk to class. This could be their best year ever.

I wonder if they will someday sit in an office like mine. Will they wish their new projects weren’t piled on top of ongoing ones? Will they have trouble marking the passage of time like I do? Will they miss starting over each fall?


This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt:

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive
autumns. ~George Eliot

For you, what does autumn evoke?

Show us in 300 words or less.

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12 Responses to “A Fresh Start”

  1. cinquecentoproject
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    I felt that same sense of hope and possibility at the start of each school semester! How lovely.

    I took off four years between undergrad and grad school and now it has been 3 autumns since my last fall semester. I haven’t longed for school the same way you describe; but then again I haven’t had the same office/job for more than one consecutive year, either. I haven’t even lived in the same house longer than two years. I think that is part of why I love your blog – you have the career stability and longevity about which I fantasize, yet you struggle with the side effects that accompany stability, and I fear those side effects.

  2. betsy
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Until I stayed home with my kids I either attended college or worked at a college. When I left I found it difficult to stop thinking in semesters. My little girl just started school this fall so dealing with semesters again has been like slipping on an old pair of jeans.

    Great post! And beautiful picture!

  3. Barbara @ de rebus, via Write on Edge
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    What an EXCELLENT observation! It is so true – I share your sadness over the loss of that fresh start!!

    “Each fall brought the excitement of change with almost no risk.”

    Ah well, at least office jobs also come with the ability to happily be able to afford everything lacking in college!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  4. angela
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I try to “start over” a little each fall, though I know it’s not the same. As a former school junkie, it’s kind of my New Year’s Eve. Fresh pens, new goals, etc.

    I like how you contrasted your office situation with the law students, wondering if they appreciate what they have.

  5. meghan
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    This… really made me miss school. In a good way. Yum.

  6. Alison at Mommy is a Power Ranger
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    I remember that feeling of starting fresh every year in the fall! I kind of miss it. But I guess I have to look forward to my kids starting school in the fall. I wish that, as students, we would have the wisdom of our older selves to tell us to enjoy those times while they last. Great post!

  7. Renee
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    What a different, delightful view. I never looked forward to school, but I still adore a new notebook.

  8. Nancy C
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    There’s a real tone of longing here, for that fresh start, for that new face, and new year.

    I get it. I taught for many years, so I never really let go of that idea.

    There’s almost a magic to a fresh white page.

  9. Catherine
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Thank you so much for this as it has been so long since I’ve been in school I’ve forgotten how much I loved those first days. Especially armloads of new books- before I had a chance to hate (math) what was in them.

    p.s. You should probably make some apple crisp and curl up in flannel pjs.

  10. Galit Breen
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    I love the full circle within this.

    I felt that way as a teacher sharpening pencils for my students, and then again for my children.

    Excellent take on the prompt!

  11. May
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I went from school to working in a school and then having kids who go to school. This fall my youngest is in his junior year. It is not the same when they head off to college away from home. When someone in the house is in school there is a rhythm and marking of time that is just a part of the day to day. I had a lot of thoughts this fall about how much I will miss that rhythm in my life when he graduates next year. This post perfectly captures the melancholy I was feeling anticipating it.

  12. Let Me Start By Saying
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I, too, loved the new school year. The chances, lessons, opportunities that laid before me.
    I can see you looking out your office window, remembering.

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