Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 17 August 2010 18:55
For those of you who haven’t been to chain discount stores lately, it’s “Back-to-School Season.” This means that families across the country will be purchasing brand-new book bags, red felt-tip pens, erasers, folders, three-ring binders, protractors (whatever those are), calculators, markers, scissors, crayons, Elmer’s mid-afternoon snack, rulers, pencil pouches, No.2 pencils, mechanical pencils, colored pencils, pencils with personalized names and eyeliner pencils (just kidding).
And they will do this despite knowing full and well that they already have several perfectly good sets of these items at home from school years past.
But they will buy these things anyway, because it’s the Back-to-School season, and tradition states that if a child does not show up for the first day of school sporting that latest Hanna Montana—or whatever obnoxious barely-passing-for-a-celebrity personality the youth are into these days—back pack, the parents will be shipped off to prison and the kids will be placed under the care of Nanny McPhee, or whatever barely-passing-for-a-sequel movie the youth are into these days.
This, however, is not the intended topic of this column, despite having already taken up well over 150 words. What I’m intending to get at eventually is that while kids are trying to decide whether they want folders with pictures of kittens or Edward Cullen, us college kids are also preparing for our return to campus. And we’re doing this in full force.
What is it we’re doing? It’s what we do best: nothing.
Of course, I’m kidding. I’m allowed to make stereotypical jokes like that because I am a member of the getting-ready-to-return-to-college community.
We really are preparing to return to school. I know I am. I have all my essentials sitting right here in front of me: my Mr. Coffee coffee maker.
Really, that’s the bulk of what I’ll need.
Over the past few years (specifically 2008-present) I’ve come to realize the wonderful benefits that coffee can contribute to life. That is, the ability to not sleep through long lectures.
To me, coffee is a relatively new subject. I didn’t really grow up with it at home—it’s possibly against our religion—and the public school systems never promoted it much.
The issue, at least the way I see it, is that while college students such as me use coffee to fight off fatigue, fatigue itself is not an issue that arises when college begins.
On the contrary, everyone battles sleepiness in school from Day 1.
I remember the first time I fell asleep in class: I was in kindergarten. I’m not making this up.
That day’s assignment was Trace the Capital Letter R. I distinctly remember waking up, pencil still in hand, and realizing that most of my classmates were already finished, while I still had several rows of Rs to go.
That said, I’m not advocating that public schools begin introducing their students to coffee by way of curriculum. (“Good morning class, today we are going to take our spelling test, learn the multiples of two and explore the subtle nuances between Starbuck’s House Blend and Caffè Verona.”)
Giving coffee to a 5-year-old would be like giving Ritalin to a Yorkshire terrier.
No, coffee is something that should be a part of personal exploration and growing up, much like discovering girls or backing one’s car into a utility pole and knocking off a large chunk of fresh teal automotive paint.
After years of waking up each morning for school and falling back asleep again, I’ve finally realized the benefits of coffee.
The next step—and this was a hard one—is acclimating oneself to the flavor of coffee without a cup of sugar and 30 Mini Moos. But that’s a topic for another day.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I haven’t had my coffee yet.