It’s easy to see that it is back-to-school season here in the United States. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with ads for the latest fashions, school supplies or just the right furnishings to make the dorm room feel like the home away from home.
Growing up, I was always the nerd who looked forward to the start of school each year. Even though I was homeschooled most of the time and missed out on the back-to-school shopping, I was eager to learn. Ok, if I am being totally honest, I was eager for the chance to make better grades than my twin brother. Learning something was just the natural outcome of the friendly sibling rivalry.
During my high school years though, I went to public school and that opened a whole new world of possibilities. Now school wasn’t just about going to class and making good grades, I got to meet and make friends with a group of people outside of my family and church.
I was involved in many different activities during my high school days. They ranged from serving on the Student Council to being on the Speech and Debate team and all points in between. But my favorite part was Friday Night Football. Nothing topped cheering on the CHASE Trojans from the Student Section. It did not matter if the game was at home or on the road, I was there. Sometimes I had to fit my wheelchair in an old VW Bug or even a police car so I could ride with somebody, but I was there.
I felt much the same way about college at Gardner-Webb University. I could hardly sleep the night before a new semester of classes started. As an English Major and History Minor, I was eager to take a deep dive into Shakespeare or learn more about Alexander Hamilton way before the musical came out.
The best part about college was the freedom it afforded. I could go to the midnight showing of the new Toby McGuire Spiderman movie and then a 3 AM breakfast at IHOP with a group of friends if I wanted. I could travel with the Honors Student Association during Fall and Spring Breaks, making lifelong friends and memories along the way. 2022 marks 20 years since I graduated from high school and went to college. With my reunion coming up in a couple of months, I can’t help but be nostalgic for those days of learning , friends and fun.
My puppy Gabe is now 10 months old and that would put him squarely in the midst of his high school or college days in dog years. He certainly acts and looks like a teenager. The puppy fat is gone and Gabe has transformed into a lean dog with muscles rippling under his curly coat. His version of Friday Night Football is chasing the deer, squirrels and groundhogs out of our yard. Of course, he is still learning, too. Just like in high school, sometimes I think he has a lesson down pat, but then we have to back up for a little review. Either way, Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats make a perfect after school snack for a job well done.
I have been out of school for nearly 20 years and even now I occasionally like to go back to my alma maters (CHASE and Gardner-Webb) to cheer on the home team. It’s different now, but in some ways when I step back on campus I can’t help but feel young again. I hope Gabe is the same way. No matter how old he gets, I want there to be days where he acts just like a puppy without a care in the world. We all need days like that.