Monkey Bars and Syllabi…It’s Back-to-School time at WashU!

Back-to-school is a time of year that really takes me back. It takes me back to the days of picking out a fresh box of crayons, lacing up some shiny new sneakers, and hitting the playground with renewed vivacity. Any twinge of sadness that accompanied saying goodbye to summer was always overshadowed by the exhilarating feeling of saying hello to a new school year.

As I snuggled into bed last night (to get some good sleep while I still can!) I felt that familiar flicker of anticipation. Though my crayon days are over (okay, that’s kind of a lie—I still LOVE crayons), the thrill of the First Day of School endures. The truth is, coming back to WashU at the end of August feels a whole lot like resuming your position at the top of the monkey bars to ring in a new year of playground shenanigans.

Here’s why the first day of college isn’t all that different from your elementary school days:

1. You’re a {insert grade here} grader now! This year is sure to be the best one yet, because now you’re smarter and more experienced than you’ve ever been before. You walk around campus a little taller, because helping out the younger students—explaining how to get a turn on the swings, providing directions to the chemistry building, etc.—makes you feel very mature and wise. (Side note: WashU is literally the least intimidating place to ask for directions. People tend to be absurdly friendly and helpful. Chances are, we’ll walk with you until we’re 100% convinced that you know where you’re going.)

2. Your teachers/professors are even more excited than you. From the second you walk through the classroom door they are doing everything in their power to make sure you succeed. For them, this day is like Christmas. Their joy is contagious—you can’t help but share in their enthusiasm when they say things like, “This year, we’re going to have our very own caterpillars that turn into butterflies!” or, “On page three of your syllabus, you’ll see we’ll be learning about the spectacular cellular processes that occur during ossification!”

3. YOUR FRIENDS. It’s been way too long since you and your people have been in the same place. Being reunited with so many people you love at once may be the best part about this day. There are many hugs to be given and stories to be heard. You’ll be smiling all day long.

4. The picture. Yup, just because you’re a big fancy college student doesn’t mean you’ve become too sophisticated for a first day of school picture in your first day of school outfit. Even if it didn’t occur to YOU to snap one and text it to your mom, WashU has got you covered. Picture-takers are stationed along the path from the dorms to your classes, so you really can’t miss your chance to get that classic shot.

5. Last but not least, coming back to school feels like coming home. When you set foot on campus there isn’t a doubt about it—this is where you belong.