(Not Going) Back to School

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I haven’t been looking forward to Labour Day.

Seeing as I seamlessly transitioned from taking to instructing courses, I’ve never lost that fall “going back to school” excitement/anticipation despite being in a year-round doctoral program.

I love the rhythms and structure of the academic year. Even more, I love the sense of purpose it affords.

The excuse to buy school supplies is kind of great, too.

Screw it. I'm buying all the pens I want, leave of absence or no leave of absence.
Screw it. I’m purchasing all the pens I want, leave of absence or no leave of absence.

Imagining a September that’s not a fresh start but is rather a continuation of a difficult spring and summer is pretty demoralizing, and the full weight of what’s happened—why I had to take this medical leave of absence, why I have to continue to be on it—is hitting me hard. I guess a part of me thought that I just needed to make it to the end of August, at which point some magical switch would be flipped, everything would be fine, my brain would decide to behave itself, I’d be able to return to my program earlier than expected and promptly finish my thesis, etc.

Shockingly, I’m beginning to suspect that reality might not pan out in the way I’d like. It’s only August 31, though; there’re still another couple of days for a miraculous recovery to occur before classes are set to commence, and there’s no harm holding on to a few comforting delusions for an additional forty-eight hours or so. In the meantime, I’ll prepare a tub of frozen yogurt in which I can figuratively drown my sorrows if (OK, when) my back-to-school dreams prove unrequited.

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