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4 Ways You Can Capture That Back-to-School Excitement | Guideposts
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4 Ways You Can Capture That Back-to-School Excitement

Even if you’d be in 55th grade, it’s a time of year to embrace new learning and new challenges.

Back to school for adults
Credit: Getty Images

“Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell….” So opens the charming, nostalgia-inducing song “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes.

Back-to-school season was always my favorite time of year as a child. The crisp turn in the air, the crack of a new notebook and freshly-sharpened pencils and the opportunity for new learning, new friends and new adventures appealed greatly to my structure-loving personality.

These days, I get to relish a new version of that feeling as a parent—this year my son will (gulp) start middle school, and we’ve been poring together over the school supplies list and summer reading log.

But I also feel back-to-school joy for myself, bringing my love of the fresh invitation of a new school year to the idea of being a “lifelong learner.” 

I am grateful to say I had a full, fun summer. There was some travel, some camp for our son, some visiting with family and friends, some truly excellent things. But for us, like for so many, the summer was also frustratingly, yet again, complicated by the Covid-19 surge, concerning world events and a heat wave that made Covid-safe outdoor gatherings less-than-comfortable.

Perhaps this mélange of experiences is why I feel drawn to the settled feeling of back-to-school season. I yearn to be grounded in routine, re-committed to investing my time and energy in the possibilities to learn, explore and grow.

Back-to-school is a moment of return to ourselves. Whatever “grade” you find yourself in, think about how you can embrace a positive back-to-school mentality. Here are some ideas.

Pick Up School Supplies
A new journal, set of pens, tote bag or backpack—these small purchases can be an investment in a sense of fresh start this fall and help get you started on a new project.

Get to Class
Literally go back to school! Community adult education resources are typically affordable, and some courses might be offered for free through your local library or your house of worship. What have you always wanted to learn? Go learn it!

Set a Goal
Maybe your learning will be closer to home, such as re-organizing your desk or other work area to enable progress toward a goal that means something to you. Map out an achievable road to keep yourself moving forward.

Learn with a Buddy
For reasons ranging from accountability to new perspectives to just plain enjoyment, it’s meaningful and helpful to connect with a partner in a new activity or learning goal this fall. When you find out someone shares an interest of yours, you might want to quote the White Stripes again and say, “I can tell that we are going to be friends.”

Take Your Time
The joy of being an adult is that you don’t have to be in your seat when the bell rings. Give yourself space and grace to transition into the new season at your own pace. That way, you’ll embark on grown-up back-to-school season with a positive, confident attitude that will set you up for success no matter what you’re getting ready to learn.

What does “back to school” mean to you?

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