I am not supposed to work in September. Every fall, without fail, I go back to school. Have done so since I was four. Quite enjoy it.
For that matter, every September my parents, who are teachers, go back to school. All their friends go back to school. Last September, my brother and half my friends went back. It was only, it seemed, a few others and I who were left working. They shared my disbelief. A friend had dreams that classmates were calling her in a panic. "Where are you? We have a test! Why haven't you been to school?"
Graduating is hard to do. There's no orientation day. No schedules. No little map to help you find offices.
I longed for class discussions and having a large part of my job be reading. I missed going to class in sweatpants because I was tired or hungover. Most of all, I missed the arc of a semester, its natural slack start and piles of work in the middle, the kind of work that made you reach for some memory of working hard to get through it, lean on your friends and emerge victorious and exhausted sometime near Christmas.
In the midst of this post-secondary depression, I sat down with a wonderful mentor who suggested I take a copy-editing class while looking for work. Thanks to the small miracle that is continuing education, I paid my $400 that day and was promptly once again a student. I received a student card with a grinning photo of me, which I flashed for discounts at every opportunity. In my class, I debated geeky things like hyphens and commas. I even got to skip class a few times. It was glorious (and a lot cheaper than therapy).
This year, to my surprise, I realize that I have, somewhat grotesquely, recreated September. I have a new job that pays about as much as my student ones did, a new house nearby, and I'm signed up for a photography class.
Although some would call this regressive, I'm too excited to care. I even bought a new binder with my schedule taped in it, which is waiting on my shelf, full of challenge and comfort.