I’ve never really talked about this before, not even with a doctor or a counselor, but seeing as today was the first day of classes at my Alma Mater, LTU, it seems appropriate. I still get the same anxiety that I had as a kid about going back to school.
And I mean that every summer, when Back to School signs go up and commercials come on, I get terrible anxiety. It feels the exact same as when I was in school, except I’m not. And, I’m not going to sit in a classroom any time in the foreseeable future.
I don’t recall my feelings about school when I was really young. I probably enjoyed it. But as I got into high school, I dreaded it. I hated going back. I hated waking up every morning. I could never wait until I got out every afternoon and every summer. Any day I could stay home, I did. I hated it.
I didn’t really have any reason to hate it.
I had a lot of friends. I did well in class. I got to pick my courses. I was sufficiently challenged when I wanted to be. I never got bullied or made fun of or anything. Everyone seemed to like me. I always had a girlfriend. I rarely had to take the bus once I got to high school. I never had the ‘this is a waste of my time’ feeling. There was literally nothing for me to dislike about school.
But I still hated it.
I would wake up right before I had to leave because I would hate going in. I would count down the hours until the day was done all day long. Every time I looked at the clock I was immediately processing how many hours and minutes were left until final bell.
I really enjoyed my summer vacations.
Before I had a car or a job or anything like that I would pretty much just stay up as late as possible, wake up as late as possible (usually around noon), go to my best friend’s house and play video games or sports or card games until the night, and then I would stay up as late as possible again.
Once I got a job and a car and all that my summers shifted a little bit. I primarily worked afternoons (1-10pm shift at Kmart) so my stay up late sleep in all day schedule remained intact. Since I could drive I would spend a lot more time with other friends that I could now get to on my own. We always managed to end up some place with a pool most days that I wasn’t working.
The band thing became big once cars came around too. I formed a new band soon after getting my license and we were able to practice a lot and play shows and everything without our parents knowing exactly what we were doing. Big benefit.
But as soon as the calendar flipped to August (back when I went to high school, we started in August, no longer the case here) there was a lot of negative feelings about school that popped up.
I’m not sure why they ever started, although I don’t think that is unique to me by any means.
But I have no clue why I still experience it.
College brought with it serious questions about whether or not I could actually cut it each semester. I worried about failing every class I ever took, and generally thought I was failing until final transcripts were released, even though I never even sniffed a failing mark; hell, I only got two C’s.
I still often have dreams were I am in college or high school and I have neglected to go to math class for months. I just keep missing it or forgetting or something pops up, and in this dream I always eventually go back to math class and I am failing but there is still time to do the work I missed and pass the class, and then I go right back to skipping. I have this dream a handful of times a year and I always wake up confused and scared.
I wonder what I can do about it at this point.
Back to school stress as a 30 year old man not in college or teaching. Weird. I guess when something is such a large demarcation of the passing of time when you are a kid, it is hard to shrug off as an adult.
I wonder how I will deal with Jocelyn’s foray into education in a couple of years. Am I going to have a panic attack in the middle of a Staples shopping for someone entering Kindgarten?