Ahh. New year, fresh start. Your parents and teachers tell you this is an amazing opportunity to reinvent yourself. A clean slate! What more could anyone ask for? It’s great. But, dear adults… exactly which part of the clean slate process is so great? The main upside to starting a new school year is that everything is clean and new. Please tell me, is this actually an upside? Except for the gorgeous, brand new binders of August, a clean slate isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

   The first day of school. It has a certain feel to it. A very specific nervousness, a  restlessness in the pit of your stomach. Remember last year when everyone was familiar with each other? Everybody had a plethora of inside jokes, and was able to find their classes without exerting a conscious effort.

   But today it’s all so unfamiliar! Nobody remembers the jokes from last year. Little circles of people seem to have formed without you.

   Everyone is wide-eyed looking for a place to park their lunchbox at 11:07. Preferably some place crowded, but not too crowded. With people who are popular enough but not too popular. Oh gosh, what happened to all those tight bonds you made at the end of last year? Where are all the cool people you hung out with last year? Clean slate. Bummer. But at least you get a fresh start in class! …argues your mom. True, Aug. 18 gives you a beautiful looking line of 100 percents in your Veracross account.

   However this is more of a curse than a blessing. Your very first assignment will make or break your destiny in a class. Did you get your syllabus signed? Star student! You’ll probably keep your 100 percent through September.

   Did you forget it? Well don’t worry, your grade won’t be an F forever. But it’s a clean slate! You get to enjoy all of your lovely, new school materials! True, it is nice having a binder that isn’t falling apart. However, a fresh start also means that you have a backpack full of every material on the required materials list. You haven’t yet learned which books you can leave in your locker. You go to class with a bursting pencil pouch, a brand new notebook, binder, calculator, iPad, summer reading books, extra paper, pocket folder, printed out class schedule, planner, etc., etc., etc.

   So, dear adults, it’s true that the new year is a fresh start.   However don’t be surprised if we give that newness a less than gleeful connotation. But chin up, classmates! Before you know it, you’ll have new jokes, grades you deserve, and used up, broken school supplies.

   And hopefully some new information in your head too!