By PLA Alumni Emily
16 years, and I just couldn’t let back to school shopping go. My youngest sister, Alison, was entering Grade 10. Now a Queen’s Alumni, this year marks the first time I would not partake in the consumerist festivities, so I decided to tag along for the shopping adventure.
The earth-shattering decisions began almost as soon as we turned down the imposing aisles of our local big box retailer. Lined with all manner of scissors, pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, binders, duotangs, backpacks and the quintessential pencil case to hold it all (in both hard case and fabric, I must add), the myriad of back to school supplies begged the question:
– Notebook or three ring binder with lined paper, or both?
– If you have a notebook, what do you put class handouts in – folder or staple to the note in your sheet?
– Is it better to staple or paperclip?
– If stapler, staple-less staple or traditional metal ones?
And on. And on. And on.
I was consulted for my opinion on these pressing questions until I couldn’t hold it in any more and burst into hysterics. I was asked to abort the shopping adventure because I was laughing so hard at what my younger sister considered genuine problems. My sister chided me with, “You want me to stay organized and on top of school work and how am I supposed to do that if I have my notes in a notebook and then get a non-hole punched handout?”
The question took me back to a time when the biggest unknown I had to face was a matter of stationery selection. Now, as a Queen’s Graduate, I’m now asking myself, “Did I accept the right employment offer?”
It was a reminder of the need for perspective. It was a poignant example of how, be it transitioning from one backpack to another or from backpack to briefcase, you need to consider how big the impact is going to be in the long term.
As you begin your next semester at Queen’s, remember that ultimately, the big question about what course to take, how to study for that midterm, who to pick for that project team, to buy the textbook or rent, or even if you are in the right program, will one day become a matter of notebook or binder.
Look forward to the day when it becomes that small – relative to everything else you have conquered or are conquering, and know that no matter how long that day takes, that day will eventually come.