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The Start of the New School Year

September is here
And so is fall.
So welcome children
Welcome all.
I hope vacation
Was real fun.
And that you’re glad
School has begun.


It’s school time again! You’re probably feeling excited and maybe a little sad that summer is over. Some kids feel nervous or a little scared on the first day of the new school year because of all the new things: new teachers, new friends, and, maybe, even a new school. Luckily, these “new” worries only stick around for a little while. Let’s find out more about going back to school.

 

The weather is turning, the days are getting shorter… and for some of us, the summer holidays are almost all gone. You never really lose the taste of a new school year starting, do you? No matter how long since you actually had to swap the long, carefree days of summer for uniform, new pens and the embrace of the classroom, that first sense of the leaves turning, triggers the memories of the start of the school year. For some of us, the memories are warm; others went unwillingly to school.

Recently, during one of our unbearably hot days, my little siblings and I watched movies all afternoon while eating cookies. We might have set a couch sitting record, but we didn’t feel guilty. We had nothing important to do and nowhere that we had to be. It was the quintessential lazy summer day, and we had a blast.

After a summer of sleeping in or doing things the alarm bell announcing the first day of school can be a rude awakening. Whether you’re an anxious first grader or a confident high school student, dread it or love it, you got to go to school. This week Eritrean students have been getting ready for the upcoming school year, so too are my four lazy siblings. After the anarchist summer with no set of rules about when to go to bed, when to wake up, when to study, when to do home work; they now display gloomy looks on their faces when reminded the start of the new school year is right around the corner; this coming Monday to be exact.

“Michael……where are you, you little devil?” screams the worried mother.

“He is still out playing with his friends,” tells the older brother.

“It is 7 in the evening and he is still outside; thank God I only have to put up with this for two more days, then he is back to school,” says the agitated mother to console herself.
The idea of going back to school is often met with a combination of excitement and dread. On the one hand, you get to see all your friends again, catch up on all the latest gossip and share your holiday stories. On the other hand, though, it means getting back into studying, doing homework and getting out of bed early. For mothers, though, it is joy, the new school year couldn’t come any sooner, the idea of not having to run after kids in the house or outside, for that matter, is a thrill.

The whole month of August and July are summer breaks in Eritrea, as is in most parts of the world. By early September, as the rainy days start to stop, Eritrean students get ready to start to go to school. That old uniform, which was thrown at the other end of the closet when school was closed, is now being fetched out and ironed, and those who had outgrown their uniform over the summer are taken to the frail looking family tailor and fitted for a new uniform before the new school year starts.

During the two solid months of summer break, Eritrean students are engaged in different activities. The young ones are out and about playing soccer, hide and seek and eating beles while the ones above 17 years of age are dispatched in their respective localities for the annual national summer greening campaign held each year at the beginning of summer. The program, lasts exactly one month and involves all grade 10 and 11 students, all over the country, who engage in planting trees, the maintenance of school furniture and other social activities in the mornings.

In the afternoon, students, dressed in their modern attire, are seen flocking to down town Harnet Avenue to meet with friends and hang out at some of the most famous pubs around the city. At times if not out in down town Asmara, boys are out having a kick about of the old football while girls are with each other, shopping. The little ones, on the other hand, ride their bikes around their neighborhood.

As the first day of the new school year approaches, yearly registration fees are paid in the first week, followed by the purchase of new books, pens, pencils, erasers and all things schooly. The last two, three days of the last week of summer are spent trying to enjoy every bit of it as if it were your last days alive.

However, going back to school can seem less than appealing for many kids after the long summer break. Let’s face it, going back to the monotonous daily routine, and marching to the beat of a strict weekly timetable can be quite disheartening. With the beginning of the new school year, the excitement from summer and the freedom of the break slowly begin to fade into the distance. As set bedtimes and early starts approach, the thought of leisure time being replaced with homework- alongside the concept of a whole new set of teachers, new classes, new faces and sometimes even new schools – can be quite overwhelming!

Nonetheless the start of the new school year means the start of yet another chapter in your life. A chance to make more friends, catch up with the old and, most importantly, progress as a human being; a human being who thrives on knowledge. Starting the new school year motivated and is the stepping stone to how the next ten months will pen out, and with that I say to you all my dear readers-students- may the new school year be a fresh start, a year filled with new discoveries, a year of making happy memories, and a year where you give your maximum efforts to surpass your previous school year achievements.

Good Luck on the Upcoming School Year!

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