Back To School Sweats

5 Sep

In New England, going back to school means summer weather without summer fun. 

Sorry, that was kind of negative. Let me try again.

In New England, going back to school means sweating like an escaped convict that didn’t use his time in jail to get super ripped, at all hours of the day.

One more time…

In New England, going back to school means sweating like a woman in labor.



It means thick, overpowering waves of heat that you observe from within a lightly air-conditioned classroom, during classes taught by professors who wear argyle sweater sets and pleated slacks and long socks (like they’re about to go on a first grade field trip to an outdoor farm where “your child could get ticks,”) and who decide to turn off the little bit of AC so as to “clear the air for more audible discussion.”


It means thighs rubbing together on your way to class and the concerned looks of passerbys as you double fist Italian ice…one of which you (probably) stole from a kid.

It means leaving sweat marks on your seat and hoping that the one cute – hopefully straight, but probably not – guy in your French class doesn’t notice that your contributed more butt sweat to class than insightful comments.

Moving into college in the fall – for me, anyway – is kind of like planning for a trip to St. John and packing for a trip to Antarctica…several 90-degree days and more than several big, wooly sweaters with reindeer on them.

I’m not sure why, after three years of fall move-ins, I cannot seem to understand that “back to school” does not mean “a blizzard is coming so now you finally have use for that poncho your mom knit you ten years ago.”

(To answer your question, yes – it’s purple, made of really thick yarn, and looks just as good on me now as it did when I was ten.)


For some reason, I never pack appropriately for this time of year.

Maybe it’s because I really think I singlehandedly control the weather. Like, if I just decide to associate a new school year with sub-zero temperatures, then the temperature should drop, goddammit! 

(I actually did control the weather, once. In sixth grade, I made up a song with the lyrics, “Please let there be a snow day, I do say!” and danced around my room singing until our superintendent called to cancel school for the next day…that was also when I discovered my knack for rhyming weather-related words.)

Or maybe I never pack appropriately because I tend to leave myself 45 minutes for said “packing,” and because I attempt to pack while also eating a brownie sundae and watching The Notebook… 


On the day I was supposed to leave for school (by 9AM), I had managed (by 11AM) to crumple up half of my closet, throw my wardrobe into three suitcases, and completely neglect the army of belongings I’d left in the basement since moving out of school last year.

When my parents asked me if I was ready and packed, I accused them of “monitoring me like a 3-year-old” and assured them that I am a senior who knows what to do in the way of packing.

That’s when my dad pointed out that I’d forgotten my printer, my mattress pad, my bedside table, three lamps, my computer, and a whole bunch of socks that I’d labeled, “Sophie’s BU sock pile” and left on the dining room floor.

That’s also when my mom announced, “Packing is not rocket science! People without brains do this!”

I’d like to see that, Mom.

Lucky for me, I have a knack for remembering the most obscure, least usable belongings a person could possibly own.

Three Titanic posters depicting Jack and Rose’s fatal love? Check. 


Seven ceramic tiles of the letter “S” that are really cute and “could be hung on my wall or placed on my desk” or used to spell out my initials should I come into an unfortunate bout of laryngitis and a desperate need to spell out my initials? Yes. 

That cute bag that I bought in France when I was ten and have been waiting eleven years to use? You bet!

So, which of these special items is valuable enough to compensate for the fact that I forgot summer clothes and am sitting in jeans and a flannel?

Which of the Titanic posters can I sacrifice to wipe the sweat off my arms so I don’t accidentally bump into people and send them running into the Charles?

None. They are too valuable. That was a trick question.

The only things I have going for me by way of appropriate attire are the FOUR maroon skirts I packed.

I may not have shorts or dresses or flip-flops…but I do have four. Maroon. Skirts. 

One more and I can start a band called Maroon 5 and make millions!

Looks like I don’t need rocket science, after all…





One Response to “Back To School Sweats”

  1. Zoe Diaz-McLeese September 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I have this problem too. When I packed to study abroad, I had to pack, repack, and then repack again! It was so hard…

    Zoe | La Vie en Zoe

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