What is it about the word ‘new’ that gives us that tingle of excitement, that little buzz of knowing that the world around us is about to shift?
September is often a time for new starts. The changing of the leaves from deep green to burnt amber often brings with it other changes in our lives: new schools, new jobs as businesses prepare for the Christmas rush, and – for students like me – the beginning of a fresh new year at university.
In many ways, September has become a month of rituals for me: compiling lists of new classes, sorting out uniforms/shoes/bag (less important now that I’m studying by distance learning and my uniform can consist of slippers!), and of course the inaugural purchasing of new stationery, pencil cases and an academic diary. In the life of a student, these seemingly mundane things become almost as exciting and necessary as putting up the Christmas tree or eating chocolate on Easter Sunday!
This week I began my second (and final) year studying towards my MLitt Creative Writing, but if you include my undergraduate degree then it will be the sixth time I’ve gone through the university induction process. Add that to thirteen years of new school terms, and it becomes obvious why September feels like an important turning point in the year for me, and for many others.
It isn’t just about the newness, though. Moments like this can be a great time for reflection because the chances are the memories from the same point in previous years may be better ingrained into your mind than other times of the year. Where were you this time last year, or the year before?
For me, the answer is easy. In September 2005, I was beginning my undergraduate degree as a nervous teenager, not long out of school and having just finished working at my first ever job. By September 2012, I’d replaced studying with wedding planning and was in the midst of last minute arrangements, not to mention my hen night! A year later, I was preparing for the birth of my first child, and last year – September 2014 – I was beginning on my MLitt with the nerves of someone whose prior knowledge of study and normal adult conversation had been replaced by knowledge of nappies, bottles and nap times.
This year, I’m excited to be starting my final year of the MLitt in a far stronger position, having last year’s experience behind me driving me forward. I can already see the progress I’ve made. Writing was once a hobby; now, I push myself to write almost every day, and I realise that if I want to be able to use it as a future career then I have to treat it with that determination and focus now.
September is already drawing to an end once again. Students are settling into their new classes, businesses are pushing to complete their pre-Christmas recruitment drive, and school kids … well, they’re practically into their first holiday of the new term already! It’s a time of new starts so enjoy the buzz of newness, but don’t forget to sit back for a quiet moment and reflect on how far you’ve come since last year.
What does September mean to you? Are you looking forward to any new starts this year?