Have you ever noticed that there’s no song, rock or otherwise, to celebrate the fact that school’s back in session?

Staples tried to get something going by using that old Christmas chestnut, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

-Hilarious – and completely on point.

If there’s a group of people who do actively look forward to the start of the new school year, it is the parents of school-age children.  They begin their countdown on the last day of a school year the way their kids start theirs on the first.

I’m with the kids on this one. Sorta

– Heather O’Roarke as Carol Anne in Poltergeist II

I wish we were only talking about ghosts here and not demons.  And by demons I (mostly) mean college students. The subway car and obliviously-cell-phone-staring, sidewalk-hogging hordes of entitled semi-adults who, though they organize charitable drives and service trips or aspire to become President or even cure cancer, they also litter the streets with red solo cups, fast food wrappers and cigarette butts.

Seinfeld, serenity now, college students, back to school, S. A. Young

George (Jason Alexander) and Frank (Jerry Stiller) Costanza in “Seinfeld”

And the worst – the absolute worst – are the ones in my neighborhood. We won’t even go in to how two tiny, size sub-zero, women can sound like a herd of water buffalo as they run back and forth across the floor over my head.

No, I mean The Musicians, for I live in the middle of the urban campus of a world renowned school of music. And much like Visa, they are everywhere I want to be.

They will ride their skateboards in the middle of the street (in case that scraggly Van Dyke or soul-patch they’re sporting didn’t give them enough bad boy cred), dodging cars and scaring the bejeebus out of pedestrians. The opera singers will never go anywhere, at any hour, without practicing their scales at full throat. The players will bash people about carrying their pantookas, tarookers, floofloovers and oversized wuzzles. They’ll blow their whohoopers. They’ll bang their gardookas…

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise noise noise*!

…oh my god, I’m the Grinch!

back to school. musing, whining, gratitude, S. A. Young, the Grinch

I’ve become the Grinch when I used to be Cindy Lou Who*!

Cindy Lou-Who, Dr. Seuss, college students, back to school, whining, S. A. Young

Okay, *deep breath*. And another one.  It’s time to take a step back.  They aren’t all that bad. And even the ones who are have some redeeming qualities, right? Of course they do.

I have two friends who also struggle with some of the more frustrating aspects of urban living and the tolls it can take on one’s psyche. They’ve decided to try to let their “kindler, gentler” selves hold sway over their more irritable, quick-to-anger selves.  They’re not always successful, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and they are trying. I could learn something here.

Bizarro World, Piraro, college students, gratitude, whining, S.A. Young

Bizarro World by Piraro

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of those redeeming qualities.

For one thing, they keep me “young”.  I am so up on my current pop-culture that I’ll wager I knew what “on fleek” meant or what Pokemon Go was before 99% of the people reading this. Did you know that Chandelier and Avalanche are drinking games? Or that there are still girls who care that Harry Styles got a buzz cut for his first movie? Speaking of 1D, I may have absolutely zero interest in any of it, but I have certainly listened to more than one debate on what Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik’s cute couple name should be (ZayGi? GiZay?).

For their part, they get to experience the city for the first time. The clusters of girls on the train are giggling because they genuinely can’t wait to get to Fanueil Hall. I think that there would have to be way more impressive malls in Tokyo or London, but knock yourselves out. In October and April, when the rest of the world comes to us for the “Head of the Charles Regatta” and the “Boston Marathon”, the students line the banks of the river and the streets of the course to cheer the participants on, while a lot of the people who live here stay as far away as we can get.  These are things that make Boston special and they embrace them. Maybe it’s time to try looking through their eyes?

Finally,and this is the biggie, the students that flood this city, the whole tiny state really, are keeping me gainfully employed.  Without them and their dollars, the university at which I toil would have no dollars to pay me and then I’d have no dollars.  You could call it simple “supply-side economics”.  I’ve decided to call it the “Circle of Life” (sans Simba).

It gets harder every year to keep hold of my patience, answering the same questions over and over and to remember that just because I’ve heard it a thousand times doesn’t mean that the person asking has heard the answer the same number of times and maybe they don’t actually know better.

As an old drama teacher once used to tell me, “In pink – out blue” as I focused on my breathing. (Of course that was just before he told us all to act like willow trees, but whatever.)  I know I’ve said it before, but as long as I draw breath, I can try to learn not to sweat the small stuff.

Om, serenity, gratitude, whining, back to school, S. A. Young


I can make a start by cheerily returning the sentiment the next time another staff member waves at me as I walk across campus and yells, “Happy New Year!”

I will try.

I know a lot of you reading this are on the other end of the stick and are sending your fledglings out of the nest. How are you coping with the start of the “new year”?


*That really used to be my nickname.