In August 1986 I started school. I was 2 1/2 years old, and I think my mother figured it was time for me to get out of the house and see the world, or at least the preschool at Thoreau Park Elementary School. In a few short months, that will have been 30 years ago. And while those first 3 years of pre-school (my mother really wanted me out of the house…) may have consisted only of half-days, they did run the entire length of the school year. This means that, as of Spring 2016, I’ve completed 30 school years, as either a student or a teacher.
It’s interesting to ponder how we mark time. The majority of us live in a world of January – December as our breakdown of the year, while those attending school in the western world have the ‘academic year’ to contend with – August to May. In essence the bottom of the years have different seasons – summer for the calendar year, winter for the academic year. One year starts in extremes, temperature wise, and one starts pretty much the same way it ends – late summer climate tends to be fairly similar to late spring everywhere I’ve lived.
The academic year, thus, seems to reflect a better sense of balance and cycle, while the calendar year tends to make a momentous end and dramatic new beginning. Perhaps it’s because the academic year places time for rest and relaxation between it’s bookends, whereas there is no time for rest between New Years Eve parties and the kiss of celebration at midnight!
I don’t pretend to have any great revelation about all of this today – this blog post really has no other point than to compare and contrast the two years by which I live my life. I do know that I tend to feel more of a sense of completion after an academic year than a calendar year, but then again, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life living by it!