I have some very specific memories from my childhood. For some reason I have always enjoyed going back to school. It might be the new books, the clean uniform, the bright pens and colorful erasers… but it could also be the excitement of seeing new classmates, hugging old friends, and meeting new teachers. Just the idea of writing the first word in a blank notebook, or using a pen for the first time, or even hearing a total stranger say their name makes me get butterflies in my stomach. Friends reunite with so many stories about their holidays, the summer, trips with the family, summer camps. First kisses, a first love. A whole year lies ahead and there is so much waiting to happen… Within weeks everything changes. Students complain about their homework, books are lost, fights become common place and getting in trouble with teachers is the goal. So exciting.
Grad school is somewhat similar, except for the fact that mom and dad are not really there by my side. The first word will be typed on a keyboard, and the pens never wear out anymore. Getting new books is a little more painful than fun. But once they are in front of me, it is a whole new world waiting to be conquered. Meeting professors is still a fun experience and they, oddly enough, still learn my name quickly. The uniform has given way to worn out jeans, large boots and oversized coats… and a hat, gloves and a scarf. Summer stories take place in countries I barely knew existed. Funny, sad, interesting, boring, impactful, meaningless, in the private sector, public sector, NGOs, multilateral organizations. And they usually involve another intern, a CEO, a Senator, the UN Secretary General. A busy semester patiently waits for the return of these students who are soon going to be complaining about the classes, the professors, the books and their thesis.
A few more hours. Our summer vacation is almost gone.