I headed back to school last week. It was just a two day, 15-hour course but it made me think. It reminded of the days when my friends and I would volunteer for new student orientation in middle school and high school. I’m sure this was an incredibly dorky thing to do, but it never really dawned on us that it was (or perhaps it did and we just embraced this dorkiness). In fact, it allowed you to get first dibs on new friends and new boys (well, perhaps others had this). In a small school like ours, new student orientation was also really about seeing your old friends after a two month hiatus. It was typical for most of us to disappear during the summer traveling to various countries and returning at some point during August. Our pre-school reunions were always the best. However, no matter how sure of myself and my friends I felt, I was always nervous on that first day of school.

I felt those same nerves last Monday night as I lay in bed. It felt like the night before the first day of ninth grade. My outfit was picked out, my bag packed and ready to go. I’ve never been super cool. I’ve always been a little dorky, a little weird.  The difference is I’m an adult now and being a nerd is super important (is also meant I could bring a latte to class). I have to ace this class and I have to pass the exam with flying colors. I wasn’t going to make friends or to impress the teacher. I was simply going to learn, take the exam, pass the exam and obtain a license at the end of it. I spent much of last Monday preparing for the course – reading over materials, taking quizzes, looking at diagrams. It’s funny how cool goes completely out the window and the thought of failing the class means throwing money away. So success is key.

I picked a seat near the door (access to the bathroom was key).  I put out my coffee, my notebook and my number two pencils (apparently I’m taking the SATS) on the table in front of me. I longed for my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and resisted the urge to build a folder fort around my papers, especially since the woman beside me already thought I was weird for arranging everything in right angles.

It was as if I felt every minute of the two day class tick by. Sitting for 15 hours learning about health and safety in a kitchen is not exactly thrilling stuff. It ended with an exam and despite modern technology I do not find out the results for another two weeks (just in time for Christmas). Filling out the scantron form reminded of a time in elementary school when I drew lines from filled in bubble to filled in bubble all down my form. The next day my teacher had a short conference with my mom and me furious she had been up all night erasing my form. The whole time I just kept staring at her thinking, “Why didn’t you bring in the form today and have me erase it?” While I’m certain she gave explicit instructions to make marks only within the bubbles and no where else on the form, I am equally certain I was daydreaming both during the instructions and while I was connecting the bubbles.

Fortunately, this time I did not do a giant connect the dot. I also tried to keep a tight rein on my daydreaming (nearly impossible). So, here’s hoping for a pass and license in two weeks! For as much as I loved going back to school, I’m certain we could not afford all the number 2 pencils, lattes, new clothes, and Trapper Keepers I would need to make it work.