Seven binders, various colors. Three, 200 page packets of college ruled filler paper. Two packets of 8 notebook dividers. One hard pencil case. Two packs of Paper-Mate mechanical pencils, 12 per pack. Two rolls Scotch tape. Three fine point Sharpies. Two packs of blue and black ballpoint pens, two per pack. One pack of 24 colored pencils. One red pencil sharpener. Two Elmer’s glue sticks. One pair Fiskar’s safety scissors. One box of twelve highlighters, assorted colors. One packet of 360 index cards, assorted colors. One pocketed folder, detail of The Avengers. One pack of mint gum.
Seven classes, 180 days of school, about eight hours a day from 7:00 Am to 2:30. That is how long the piles of supplies I bought yesterday in a frenzied tax-free shopping spree must last me. I gazed over my mountainous pile of binders and saw my not-so-distant future, a future where I am carefully balancing a leaning-tower-of-Pisa-like stack of textbooks and binders as I run through the congested halls of my high school that swarms with throngs of busy students pushing their way to class. Five days till then, as of now, when I will once again walk through those school doors that I haven’t opened since my two month long summer hiatus began in late May.
I must say I am eager to start. I have always loved learning new things and meeting new teachers. I relish in the smell of new textbooks and the easy way unused binders click open without the swell of random papers inhibiting their movement. I love the feel of new clothes on my back and a new year to make my own.
But then again, I am also sad, not just because a new school year forces me to wake up at such an ungodly hour as 6 AM, but also because I realize that my childhood’s end is fast approaching. I will be a junior, 11th grade, my penultimate year of high school in which I have 180 days to go before I am a senior. I am growing up and getting dangerously close to adulthood. It’s scary. Every year that passes by is another year I am farther from being a carefree little toddler who’s only worries were when she could play with her Barbies and postponing bedtime to as far back as possible. I’m getting old, which may sound funny from a sixteen year old, but when you think about it, we are all on an inexorable march toward our inevitable mortality.
In the end, there is very little space between being 16 and 20, 20 and 35, 35 and 50, and 50 and 80. While the days are long, the years are short and eventually, most of us will grow old, and all of us will die. Heavy stuff, I know, but transitions like going into a new year of school have the tendency to make me ponder the transience of human life. Our meager span of 70 odd years seems so swift and insignificant, over in a blink of an eye. How does one find their purpose quickly enough to capitalize on what short time one has left?
Luckily, I have found my purpose early in life. Loving and obeying God and serving others is the greatest objective a person can have. A relationship with Him is the only thing that can save from the crushing hopelessness and finality of death, both in the literal and the spiritual sense. Love for God is the only thing that can give me true fulfillment, and love for God is the only thing that will bring me peace.
Now I gather all my many school supplies and stuff them into my bulging backpack, ready to be picked up and taken into a new year. Although weighed down by all my heavy books and binders, I look up and murmur a small prayer for His guidance through the year. I will work hard and do my best, but in the end, it is all up to Him.