Not all lessons come from a classroom

School started Monday. And with it came a flood of different emotions.

For students, it was both exciting and intimidating as it signaled the beginning of months of hard work and hectic schedules. It heralds in a time for learning and trying new things, shaping the future, and making friends or renewing old relationships.

The first day of school brings hope and promises of what could be. Everything seems brighter and shinier. The good seems to overpower any bad or fears of the unknown, especially when starting kindergarten or advancing through the grades and going to a new school.

Teachers, too, experience excitement and dread as they faced the coming school year. There are bound to be opportunities to expand young minds and open their thoughts to new horizons. There also will likely be times of extreme frustration when they can’t find the way to get a specific point across to a particular student who is having trouble grasping the concept. Their schedules will quickly fill up as they struggle to balance work and home life with the desire to see their students succeed.

For parents, it offered a brief moment of respite from the frantic pace of the past few weeks as they prepared their children for the start of the new semester. They can relax for a short time before all the extracurricular activities gear up, along with a calendar full of meetings, assemblies, concerts, performances and pleas for help with homework.

It was equally a day of highs and lows for empty-nesters.

I’m sure that the more time that passes since one’s children have flown the coop the easier it gets to ignore or forget about the start of a new school year.

That wasn’t the case in my household this year.

First, there was my closeted addiction to school/office supplies. It was impossible to go into any stores, look at the newspaper or watch television without being bombarded with ads for getting your kids ready for school.

Stores of all sizes have spent weeks showcasing their assortment of notebooks, pens and pencils, markers and highlights, folders, paper, index cards and other assorted accessories. They just call to me. And then there are some ridiculously low prices.

Fortunately, I have learned that buying a few items and donating them to someone in need satisfies my demons while boosting the spirits of another.

Monday also brought to light the startling revelation that I no longer need to put my life on hold from the end of August until June. Not following a nine-month calendar will be a unique experience after years of coordinating school and work schedules.

Granted, because of the very nature of my position here I have to be aware of those dates and they will always be red-letter days. They will just no longer be filled with the same emotions as before.

What the future will bring, no one knows for sure. Yet experiencing that feeling of uncertainty is exactly what happens on the first day of a new school year — and with it the arrival of a clear slate with endless possibilities.

Perhaps, school really did start for everyone on Monday. It just may be that the classrooms have entirely different walls.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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