The mood was upbeat until the long, sunny, relaxing Labor Day weekend in Canada. Parks were packed, tents pitched, suntan oozing, beach towels spread, boats and canoes afloat, and food and beverages in abundance. Even though the shadow of returning to school the next day was looming large on kids and parents alike, the ambience pushed it aside to make-believe that holidays might go on forever.
Reality hit when the early hours of the first day of school began with a downpour, drenching any hopes of a getaway. School seemed to be a fit refuge on a dull morning like this, even though the pace was slow and the rhythm out of tune. The old yet apt saying, “My body may be in school, but my mind is on vacation,” was going to sound true for almost all encaged in classrooms on September 8.
Although back to school preparations had begun weeks earlier, and depending on the age of their children, parents could be seen fussing over kindergarten lunch boxes, clothes and shoes, to adult laptops and stationery. It was an even bigger challenge for fresh graduates moving to hostels to start college. Such was the sight at Toronto’s Humber College lakeshore campus where volunteers swarmed to answer any question anybody on site might have. A sense of welcome camaraderie swept the orientation held on August 30—First year residents’ Move-in Day.
A student residence family handbook for the new school year advised parents upfront that at Humber Residence, everything is addressed to the student, not the parent, and it is the student’s responsibility to contact their family if they require assistance. The handbook goes on to elaborate that this is the first real step towards independent living.
A definite emotional time for most parents—whether their child is just starting kindergarten or college—back to school takes time to adjust and fall into routine. It’s an exciting time for students to learn, grow, mature, adapt and develop those all-important social skills. Don’t worry parents, just take a deep breath and relax!
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.