What “Back-To-School Time” Means For The Rest Of Us

I needn’t tell you that September is upon us, or even that the middle of the month is only a week away! But since I just did, I might as well add that it’s back-to-school time!

What do I mean when I say “it’s back-to-school time”? (he asked rhetorically, not caring that he was wasting the reader’s time with the question.)

Even though I’m not a student, “back-to-school time” is a meaningful metaphor. It’s been a fun and leisurely summer with some important projects sprinkled in. These projects have been learning experiences. But the coming of fall signals that the learning will accelerate.

When you stop and think about it, it kind of has to – because the pace of your life and work will accelerate whether you are choosing to learn from it or not!

But just like when I was a student, my enthusiasm for a new start, new subjects, and new classmates peaked just before Labor Day. The timing of that national “day off” has never been good! My enthusiasm burns off in that artificial lull, leaving mainly overwhelm and dread. From the day after Labor Day on, I don’t want to study, I find distractions easily, and I blanch at the sheer amount of homework on the syllabus.

As if to foreshadow this, I attended a seminar two weeks ago where the presenter raised the familiar spectre of “lifelong learning”. If that freaks you out as much as it does me, then you’re probably feeling like you, too, are accelerating from zero!

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