Freshly sharpened pencils.
Notebooks that aren't ragged and torn.
The excitement of finding out who your teachers are and who is going to be in your class.
Seeing friends again after a summer apart.
As adults there is a lot of nostalgia associated with the first day of school. As students, the excitement is certainly tempered with a bit more of "here we go again" and "can't vacation last just a little bit longer?"
This year I have two students heading off to high school today. One a Junior and the other a Freshman. They both had multiple summer assignments due the first day of school. The freshman finished his yesterday. This summer wasn't really the nostalgic break from school that I remember.
When I dropped my son off at the school yesterday evening for band practice, the place was hopping. School doesn't start until today, but the cheerleaders were out practicing, as was the football team and the soccer team -- and that's just what I could see.
For a lot of students there isn't a clear line drawn between the school year and summer break. They more or less blend together.
It seems that in books, if it's summer, the students aren't busy with school work. Maybe there's some mention of some required reading being put off until later, but generally speaking summer adventures and romances seem to happen without any interference from the real world of school.
High school is a huge part of a teen's life, even when school is not officially in session. Teens may try to wish it away, and books (when they have the free time to read them) may give them that escape, but they also might find themselves wondering, as my daughter did. "How come no one in books ever spends their summer doing summer assignments?"
Happy Back to School everyone.