Now that school is back in session, we can certainly count on two things happening, especially in the next couple of weeks:
1. Traffic will get worse: If you happen to live and work near school zones -- as I do -- your commute most definitely will get longer.
In my case, during the school year it takes me roughly 10-15 minutes longer to get to work in the morning and home in the evening.
I try to leave extra early in the morning to beat the traffic, which often results in my getting to work an hour early. That's when I recline my chair in the chair and pull out a book -- or, I get a few extra Zzs.
As for the evening, if I see traffic slowing to a crawl, I stop by a nearby Starbucks or library -- book in hand -- and wait it out. If I leave an hour or two later, I usually get home in about 25 minutes (as opposed to an hour later).
2. People will be posting pictures of their kids in -- or getting ready for -- school.
No sooner do I check my Facebook Wall on the first day of school than it's already flooded with pictures of kids toting bookbags and lunchboxes, their parents barely able to contain the glee of watching the little ones start a new year at school (or is it the sheer joy of getting them out of the house?).
The first day of school in parents' world is akin to Opening Day in baseball. Just as players go back to having a .000 batting average, every kid starts with a clean slate as far as grades (and behavior) go.
I remember being overly anxious in the days leading up to the first day of school. The night before the big day, I could hardly get any sleep. The questions that popped in the mind ran the gamut: Will I like my teacher? Will I like my classes? Will I have my close friends in some of them? Will I struggle academically?
I don't suppose that having pictures taken of me right before hopping on the school bus would have done much to calm my nerves. While all the kids have smiles on their faces in the pictures, I would imagine those smiles mask feelings of nervousness in many of them.
I'm glad I'm now an adult who no longer has to deal with the vagaries of school again, at least not until I have a kid of my own. The closest thing to it would be starting a new job, which, as nerve-racking as it can be, seems easier to stomach by comparison.
Still, jobs come with their own set of pressing challenges. Instead of peer pressure and grades, you face deadlines, reviews, and endless politics.
From elementary school kids in Florida to high school students in Washington, here's to a great school year for all!