- On August 29, 2019
Just because we’ve been out of school for years doesn’t mean we can’t revel in the spirit of anticipation and anxious hope that fills the weeks when the school bell rings again.
What was your favorite ritual to start the new school year?
A new backpack?
A new outfit?
Fresh new notebooks?
Just because we are #adulting doesn’t mean we can’t use some of that ‘start of the school year’ energy to fuel our own good. For 12, 16, 20 years, the end of August / early September marked a new start for us:
- A time to get our life in order.
- Schedules to plan for homework and tests, reading assignments, science project due dates, after school activities.
- A time to renew our commitment to improvement. This year I will finish that paper in advance of the due date!
- Excitement mixed with trepidation about the advanced learning to come…can I remember anything from last June?
The start of school is a great time for reflection and action on our own learning and growth.
After so many years of having structure around a school year schedule, the launch of September is wired in our brains as time for new opportunities, learning and growth, and anxious hope. Put that memory to good use!
Most of us have good memories about the start of school. Ok, maybe there was that time in 4th grade where that bully Jackson made me quake in fear every time I walked down the hallway…but overall, the beginning of school welcomed a fresh start.
So…What’s your “back-to-school” learning opportunity this year?
- A new technical skill to master for your profession?
- A “soft skill” to improve upon—communicating, delegating, influencing others, being more assertive, strategic thinking?
- Making more connections? Many professional organizations take a hiatus for the summer and resume their meetings in September. Vow to become more comfortable with networking, or volunteer with the organization to meet others in your career field.
- …Or maybe work has you ‘full up’ and you need an outlet? A creative or athletic pursuit to help you “blow off steam” and focus on something besides work. Always thought about drawing, woodworking, pottery? Or trying a new sport…crew, kayaking, archery, running a marathon?
- Start a reading (or listening) program that challenges what you think you know. If you need ideas, I’ll share with you a few books that challenged and changed my thinking.
Whatever you choose, find a symbolic way to instantiate it.
Remember the fresh smell of a brand-new notebook? Or the pristine look of your brand-new backpack. The sensory piece of opening to this new opportunity of ‘starting school’ was important to embed meaning.
What is symbolic of your new learning journey?
- A new notebook?
- A special tiny pad and pen to stick in your pocket for networking events?
- New business cards?
- A beautiful journal?
- A new pillow or throw for your favorite place to read?
- Finally replacing that desk lamp you have hated forever?
- New ‘tools’ for your new endeavor?
- A picture of what inspired your interest? If you are taking up drawing a painting, perhaps a picture from one of your favorite artists to hang near your desk. You may never get as professional as that, yet the image will remind you of the bigger picture when you feel like all thumbs.
Reinforce your new start with as many senses as you can—sights, smells, touch, sounds, tastes (I give you permission to bypass the cafeteria food ….!)
My September “back to school” experience?
Heading to the city of Prague in the Czech Republic on September 1st to work for the month—a whole new sensory and learning experience. As a symbol of my “back to school” shift, I’ve got a brand-new book bag to carry my work stuff from our apartment to the Opero workspace we’ll be using for the month.
What’s your “back to school” experience going to be this year?
Sign in front of school in June:
Tag! You’re it!
Enjoy your summer together.
Sign in front of school in mid-August:
Back to you!
Good Luck, you’ll need it!