It ain’t over ‘til it’s over

Shopping for back-to-school clothes doesn’t mean that summer is over

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I get it. It’s back-to-school tax-free weekend. That means that the summer is winding down, and thousands of kiddos will have to change gears from summer fun to school fun.

I’m just trying to make the transition easier. Summer and school don’t equate. One is fun, and the other is work – the kind that requires that kids get up early in the morning, think and do homework.

Let’s not rush things. There are several weeks of summer vacation left, and just because the parents are shopping for back-to-school clothes and school supplies, does not necessarily mean that it is time to get into a school frame of mind.

Sure, take advantage of the tax-free weekend sales. And then put everything up and return to summer.
Even teachers are not gearing up yet to return to the classroom. When you start seeing cars parked at your school, then it’s time to look at the calendar again. Until then, the days of the week make little difference.

Those of us more advanced in age remember how summer used to be before we started working, and our vacation time decreased from three months to two weeks.

I used to have to kick myself to get back to the city and start school - high school and then college. One
year I took to my job at a summer camp in the mountains a calculus book that I was going to be using in the fall.

I thought I’d read ahead a little and get a jump on the competition. I think I opened it once, and only for a few minutes before it took up residence in the corner of my room for the remainder of the season.

It was a good idea at first. But in reality, it felt like it was against the summer rules. There was plenty of time for hard work like that when the semester started. No need to jockey ahead of the pack when I could be sailing.

When I was a student, one of the saddest events of the year for me was the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. That was, for me, actually the official end of the summer. Classes started the next day. What I feared since the beginning of June had finally arrived.

Jerry always raised a bunch of money and looked really tired as he plowed on hour after hour. Then even that part of the summer was over as the stations switched to local news. Back in those days we just had the free TV – only a handful of channels.

The local stations did a report on how successful the telethon was, and it brought back a few seconds of summer. Then it was all gone as my attention focused on how in the heck would I ever understand those calculus problems.

I should have gotten a jump on them when I had a chance, but after sailing came water skiing and tennis.
I never was too nervous about returning to school, but for those who are, I found some tips on the Internet. No need to thank me. It only took a few seconds after I typed the words “back to school anxiety.” About 202 millions results popped up. I didn’t get a chance to read all of them, so here are just a few.

• A week before school starts, change your schedule to school hours, like getting up at 7:45 a.m. and making it to class at 8 a.m. (I always had to search for a parking spot, so I actually got up at 7:40 a.m.)

• Visit the school and practice walking into class. (I never did this because I didn’t really wanted to go to the school before I had to go to school.)

• Plan lunches for the first week. (We had a muscular cafeteria lady plan our lunches, and we didn’t dare not eat them).

• Plan out what you want to wear. (I went to school in the 1970s. That wasn’t all that important.)

• Reach out to your peers for support. (I tried that, but they were still asleep.)

Have a few more great weeks, dear younger readers. Don’t worry about summer ending. It’s still here. Enjoy the great deals on tax-free weekend and then return to summer – while you can.