First off, I know that today is the first day of school for a lot of people, so I just want to say….well, I don’t even know what to say. Good luck? (I always needed it, but maybe that was just me.) Have a great year? (It sounds like you’re leaving for a voyage.) Don’t stress? (Yeah, right.) Since none of these seem appropriate, I’ll just say I hope all goes the way you want it to. Whether you’re a freshman in college, or a senior in high school, or anywhere before or after or between, the first day of classes is ALWAYS a big deal.

To tell the truth, I’m a little wistful today, sitting here, knowing that a few miles away, at UNC, everything is cranking up. I always kind of liked that nervous excitement of the first day back, the bustle in the student stores, getting my (very big) coffee and drinking it down before I had to go meet my class. I was always REALLY nervous, walking into that room for the first time to face my students, with no idea how they were going to be. You always hope for a couple of real livewires, students who are funny and confident and will speak up, especially in those first few days when everyone is really shy. (Weeks later, however, you can’t shut them up, to save your life.) I taught a lot of classes over the years, and each one was so different in its own way. My last class, though, in Spring 2005, was one of my very best ever, which seemed fitting. Heading out on a high note, and all that. But still, it WAS fun. Grading papers and committees and office hours? Not so much. But the first day, that I liked.

Meanwhile, on a totally unrelated note, an observation: when did everyone in the world buy a pair of Crocs? Maybe this is just a North Carolina thing, but lately, EVERYWHERE I go I see these shoes. I like to think I keep up with trends, that I have an eye for what’s in, but this completely snuck up on me. And aren’t they gardening clogs? I thought they were just meant for padding around the yard with your spade, spreading bone meal over the begonias. But no. I see them EVERYWHERE now, on everyone from grandmothers to toddlers. I was at Panera yesterday and I swear I was the only one not wearing a pair. What gives?

(That’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.)

Oh, maybe it’s just a sign that I’m getting older. Not on the cusp of the trends anymore, so to speak. It makes sense, considering I heard on GMA this morning that the average college freshman was born in 1988. That’s right, the year I graduated from high school. Yikes. This means something, I think, something deep and meaningful, but frankly, I’m just not up to figuring out what it is. So instead, I’ll just say it again: good luck, have a great year, don’t stress. And don’t forget your Crocs!

have a good day, everyone!
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