It’s September, everybody! It’s time for backpacks and math class. For pencil shavings and assigned seats. It’s time for passing notes and avoiding eye contact with your crush and getting one of those magnetic mirrors for your locker, FINALLY. Or, maybe, it’s time for getting up and going to work, the same thing you’ve been doing for the past three months. Like you’re an adult or something. Womp womp.
Nine-to-fives aside, this time of year still gives me the tinglies in my belly, like it always did. Despite the weeks of anxious dread leading up to school, I always looked at back-to-school as a chance to unveil the “New-School-Year You”: the person you intended to be for the next 180 school days. For me, this all came down looking as cool as possible on the first day of school. Like any self respecting pre-teen girl in the late ’90s to early 2000s, I based 95% of all life decisions on the invaluable lessons learned in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, including fashion advice. To be fair, I actually still want to be Buffy when I grow up, so let’s just call it the best show of all time and move on to the evidence.
It’s the first day of 7th grade. The year is 1998: the year President Clinton admitted to certain scandalous activities in the White House, the year Google was founded, the year of the last episode of Seinfeld. It’s also the year I cut my hair into a pixie cut and dyed it blue, and wore my favorite orange long-sleeved velvet shirt, a long olive green cargo skirt, and cargo boots on the first day of school. I could not have looked cooler, I’m almost completely sure. This would go on to be the year that I wrote a research paper about Marilyn Monroe, played a “Beagelette” in the middle school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and formed a club devoted to experimenting with different ways to make Ramen noodles. The late ’90s were a strange and magical time, indeed.
A couple years down the road, I found myself traveling by bus to my first day of high school. I wore a red tee shirt with a cartoon tiger on it, which matched my freshly dyed red hair perfectly. To compliment all of the red, obviously, I wore what would become my signature lime green eyeliner. I had just gotten my braces off, and remember feeling smiley and confident. I remember feeling like a Great Success. I learned later, from one of my soon to be BFFs, that my 90 pound, 14-year-old self both intimidated and confused my classmates by looking like an anime character.
This year, I will pick a day and wear a back-to-school outfit. It will probably involve the color orange, perhaps in the form of a sweater. I will wear brown leather boots with a skirt, and I’ll get a fresh new haircut and get my eyebrows done. I will bring a packed lunch. Passers by will wonder how I got so cool, because they are strangers and don’t know about the the orange velvet and the lime green eyeliner. Fall will be in the air, and all of this will help make 2012-2013 the best year of 20th grade anyone’s ever had.