After registering my little Padawan, I strode out my alma mater’s school office into the hall, inhaling the tell-tale scent of bleach and pine sol. Sun streamed through the glass front doors, gleaming off the freshly buffed floors. Rows of lockers stood like proud sentinels, displaying their uniforms of fresh paint. I smiled. Everything had come full circle.

It’s a surreal feeling having my daughter attend the same school I graduated from … the same place where I met my husband the first day of high school. As soon as I walked into my fourth period Word Processing class and saw Mr. Ayres, I knew I would marry him.

And although we’ve been happily married for sixteen years now, I’m glad Kaylee didn’t come home her first day and tell us she had that same experience! But I am so happy for other shared experiences. Although I was never good enough at Algebra to join the Math Team like her, or ambitious enough to debate at Model UN, I ran cross country and track, was a writer and business manager for our student newspaper, and participated in clubs like Future Business Leaders of America and Key Club (both of which earned me my scholarships to UCF).

Through my four years, these activities bonded me together with my peers and created wonderful friendships. Most of all, high school convinced me that a stimulated mind was good for the soul. It’s probably the reason why I never left school. If I sold a million copies of 18 Things and was forced to quit my day job, you’d probably still find me ‘holding class’ in the YA section of my local bookstore.

High school: It’s known as the best time of our lives, it’s known as the worst time of our lives. In the time leading up to the beginning of the school year, I was anxious over what my experience here would end up being. My worries quickly eased though, and my freshman year has been fantastic so far. I’m currently a member of Math Team, Model U.N., Key Club, Film Club, Cross Country, and I am the Historian for the Class of 2018 (funny it’s 18—Mom’s favorite number!). These clubs have been what have really made my experience a blast so far. They’ve given me a chance to get involved in my school, delve deeper into my interests than I ever would have been able to in middle school, and the people I’ve meet have been phenomenal. Even though it’s only the start of the school year, I’ve already made several very close friends thanks to these clubs. I don’t just love high school for its clubs though. I love the academic rigor. In elementary and middle school, I literally never had to study for a test, but here my classes are actually starting to present a challenge. This is a new and very exciting development for a learning geek like me. Most of all, I love the overall feel of the school. It feels like the school is one big happy family, and you can practically smell all the school spirit in the air. It’s great coming to a place of such openness, after the horrible middle school years. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time in high school has in store, and I hope everyone else has had as great of a start as me.