Now that everyone and their momma seems to be back in school, it would be remiss for me not to snark about the whole process of well, getting kids (and barely adults) prepared for their school year. It’s such a production now-a-days, even I feel the spirit. Not in rah, rah cheerleader ways mind you… but in fond distaste. Note: I haven’t officially been schooled since… um… 2007? (Or was it 2006? Who knows… it’s been ages.) But thanks to technology (and sad memories), we can all get annoyed this time of year…
I am combining the entire school experience… from grade school to college. Because I can. It’s my blog, not yours.
Here we go!
1.) Annoying Back to School Ads… in July
Now… most kids (and college students) do not go back to school until around Labor Day. Why, oh why start the insufferable ads so early?!?!??? Maybe school districts have lobbied companies to start depressing students early in order to make them more compliant/pliable once they come back… Or more likely, our consumerist nation wants us to start buying and buying early. For your viewing (dis)pleasure, here’s the most annoying commercial I came across:
(I apparently cannot control the size of videos in WordPress. Not without a lot of tinkering. Which I don’t have the patience for at this moment. Sorry for the ugliness!)
In any case, I expect to start seeing Christmas adverts next week…
2.) Forking out mega bucks for supplies.
I recently reviewed a school supply shopping list for a second grade student. The mom of said child told me that in total, she spent about $500 dollars just on school supplies. (Never mind the clothes, school fees for extracurricular activities, lunch money, etc.) She also expressed frustration at the fact that she felt like that she was shopping more for the teacher than she was for her daughter. [Now, I know that most grade school teachers have to buy most of their classroom materials out of their own funds. Without getting *too* political, it’s the sad, sad state of the nation’s school funding woes. Somebody has to pay for the teacher’s school supplies, and the parent is “it.”] But still… whoa. Having spawn is getting to be quite expensive… particularly when there’s a semi-recession going on. How do parents with 3-4 children shoulder those kind of costs? From what I understand, aren’t these school supplies mandatory?
And it doesn’t get much better for college students. College textbooks, when I was in school, cost upwards of $1,500 per semester when all was said and done. I can’t imagine how expensive they are now. My biggest pet peeve was when professors made their pupils buy textbooks that they, the professors wrote. It’s double dipping… first they make money from the school… now they’re ripping off poor students. Unless it’s the foremost text in the field on that particular topic; honestly, colleges should ban this practice. It’s egregious in it’s uncouth-ness.
3.) (Attempting to) Sign up for classes
So okay, now you’re enrolled in school. Now you must enroll in the classes that you NEED to graduate. Except that 50% of them are already closed before you can even attempt to register for them. You are forced to finagle around a system that is so un-student friendly. (Irony.) Your counselor won’t help you… she has no control. Sometimes, you’re SOL.
It’s cruel to pay so much in tuition (and before that, school taxes) and not be able to get into those required courses that will let you graduate in time. Curse you, school administration. And overcrowding.
4.) School buses
School buses are actually less of a concern for me since I do not own a car anymore. But oy! The rest of you have at least nine months of dodging/avoiding yellow school buses. During my commute, getting stuck behind a bus often set me back 30-45 minutes.
As a pedestrian, college school buses are even worse. I continually live in dread of getting run over by the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle. (Ironically abbreviated: GUTS.) You got to hand it to the bus drivers though – they do get their charges to school on time… like it or not.
5.) School speed limits/the darn crossing guards
While we’re on the subject of driving around while the kiddies are in school: Beware the school xings. In the Washington area, patrol cars (for good reason) are out in force giving out veeery expensive traffic citations to unsuspecting idiots. And in the Washington Area, I’m expecting that each county is making millions off of this practice. Reckless driving is no joke, folks. Especially around our young’uns.
And let’s not forget our friendly crossing guards, also protecting our children from morons of our driving public. Again, when I did drive, I would often get caught behind swarms of charming kids crossing the street. It would add an additional 5-10 minutes to my commute. As much as I think the children are our future, I cursed their existence every. single. time.
When I was in high school eons ago, I remember lunch period causing so much drama. I was not… as you would say… “popular,” so in order to avoid eating lunch in a bathroom stall, I HAD to shift around my schedule so that I could lunch with the three friends that I had at the time. I’m sure peer pressure and insecurity hasn’t changed much on our upper school campuses… poor kids.
And once they got situated, the fare wasn’t much better. Frito Pie. Sloppy Joes. Mystery-meat Salisbury steak. Lunchtime in Texas wasn’t very healthy. Thanks to my metabolism at the time, fortunately, I was able to stay a skinny-minny throughout grade school. Surprisingly when I went to college, in spite of all the unhealthy choices in front of me (pizza for dinner every *single* night), I was able to stay within appropriate BMI standards. Until recently, I was very lucky in the “gain no weight” department… Things have changed… Well now, I have to watch what I eat. Phooey.
I just looked at the menu for the Fairfax County, VA school district. (I’m not going to link it here, as it took forever for the pdf file to upload. You’re welcome.) But here’s a sampling of what they’re serving up on September 9, 2011 to their elementary school students:
Cheese Pizza Pepperoni Pizza Baked Fish Fillet on Bun Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Yogurt Biteable Hummus Biteable CHOICE OF TWO Green Beans Zucchini & Carrots w/Dip Pineapple w/Cherry Garnish Fruit Sherbert Fruit Salad w/Yogurt w/ Pretzel
Man, they still serve kids crap. No wonder our country is becoming chunkier. Here’s to more earthquakes!
Happy Back to School Everyone!!!!