Lessons learned 13 years after kindergarten

Published 9:41 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Yesterday, thousands of children donned their backpacks, laced their back-to-school sneakers and walked through their schools’ doors for another year.

This year will be the first year I will not joining them.

Of course, in college, you don’t pack a book bag; you run out the door at the last minute with a notepad and a pen if you’re lucky enough to remember one for your first class — and really every class for the first week. But still.

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Normally, I didn’t even check the time for my first class until I went to bed that night. At least as an upperclassman, that was normally first-day-of-class operating procedure.

Freshman year of college was another story. I was much more terrified of both not finding and missing a class.

I could write about all of the many lessons I learned in school for this back-to-school column, and I’m sure you’ll hear about at least one or two of those at some point.

But the lesson that I thought of when reflecting on not returning to school this year took me back to my first day of kindergarten.

Well really my mother’s rendition of dropping me off for my first day of kindergarten because I don’t actually remember it myself.

Apparently, I just hopped out of the car said, “See you later, Mom,” and ran up the steps. I never looked back.

That has stuck with my mother long enough for her to tell me about it a decade later, when I entered high school.

“You just hopped out and never looked back at me,” she would say sadly.

I don’t think she was upset about it. I think she was proud in a way, but I could tell it always bothered her. I guess because she took it as a sign of me no longer needing her, though that couldn’t be further from the truth.

When my parents dropped me off at my dorm room for my first night alone at college, my mom cried, my dad gave me a hug told me to have fun and then turned to console my mother, who gave me more hugs and cried more tears before finally letting me walk up the sidewalk to the entrance of my set of dorms.

And right before I was about to walk through the doors. I stopped. I had one more thing I needed to do.

I turned back to my mom and waved.

I don’t know if my mom saw it. I never asked.

But I did turn back.

So for all the kids who tried to run as quickly as they could from their parents into their classroom on their first day of school yesterday, one day you too will realize the importance of turning back.


Sarah Mahan is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at sarah.mahan@vicksburgpost.com. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.