Back to School! Already?! Why stationery still feels so special at this time of year (even though you haven't been to school for years!)
I would by lying if I said I didn’t just do a little dance. I’ve just got in the door from our first school/nursery run of the new academic year and three of our four girls are safely deposited in their respective educational establishments… and I can have that cup of tea I’ve been meaning to make for the past seven weeks.
I love our kids, don’t get me wrong, but I do love this time of year. I do get excited about being able to sit down in a quiet room for five minutes without the four-year-old asking if she can paint rainbows for an umpteenth time (they are very pretty rainbows, mind you).
But, no, that’s not the main reason. The main reason I get excited at this time of year is because my brain still associates the slight nip in the air and the challenge of an early morning with fresh starts and more importantly, a new bag, new shoes and fresh stationery. Woohoo!
There was something so special about going back to school and showing off your new stuff – the things that didn’t have to conform to uniform regulations, the things that showed your personality.
There was nothing quite like curling your toes up in a new, cosy pair of shoes when your feet have spent all summer in sandals; or cracking the spine on your new notebooks and exercise books.
And it seems I’m not alone. According to psychologist Emma Kenny, it’s a well-known phenomenon, especially among women (dare I say). In a Telegraph article about why we fetishise stationery, she says, "Fresh starts encapsulate hope… As children we have few options for controlling our environment or expressing our individuality. Stationery is a way of doing this," Emma says.
“And,” the article goes on to say, “when it comes to notebooks and journals… we’re often attaching deep meaning to the literal blank sheet of paper.”
That's it! That excited feeling was so strong that it still lingers, even at the ripe old age of 37.
The first homework task would always be to cover them in wrapping paper or wallpaper, wouldn’t it? – another chance to show individuality, I suppose. Looking back, does anyone know why we had to do that? Apparently it was to help protect your books – text books I could understand, but why the short-lived jotters? Ease of identification? Keeping us busy while the teachers ease themselves into the new year? Who knows.
I find it difficult to put into words why I love stationery so much. But the fresh start and expressing your identity theories definitely ring true. Many think I’m mad. Others nod with utter agreement and association. Are you a stationery lover? Does this time of year get your stationery sensors fired up too or is it just me? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
- Kate Efomi