End of the (school) year

This weekend the school vacation started in Belgium. The end of the schoolyear has arrived again. As long as I was a student, June was the end of the year for me much more than the change December/January. Summer vacation marks a true ending and new beginning for students: results of exams are in/ goodbyes/ travel, camps, .../new plans/ new courses, classes, teachers, ... awaiting them in the next year.

It always brought a special atmosphere. A happy and excited and energetic one, yet also mixed with a bit sadness and nostalgia. I remember afternoons on the warm playground, making plans for the summer in order to meet friends, excited dreaming about the summercamps and vacation travelling we would be doing...I remember dances and other outside entertainment we were doing in primary school since there really was no point in serious classes anymore those last days and we probably had a "thank" mass at school as well. I was in a catholic school after all.
In high school we had had exams and there was always a few days gap in between the last exam and the last school day in which we were already free at home anyway, so basically vacation had already unofficially started. Then we had to come back for half a day in which we had to collect our report cards, clean up the classroom and empty it, bring back our books (in which we had spent hours erasing our pensil notes the free days before if we wanted to be able to sell them back to the school or directly to a lower grade student) and all our notes needed to be bundled nicely course by course. Then we had to line up class by class to bring our cardboard archive boxes into the schools basement. They had to be stored there for a couple of years in case government inspection came by (they have to make sure we truly studied something at school, right, hence they can pick out a student and check all the school notes of 6 years!) (in the mean time I've received them back and they are on my parent's attic somewhere). All of a sudden the classroom looked so empty, sterile after the many hours we had spent in it that year, the many stories we had gathered. It always gave me a weird feeling.
After the morning our vacation had truly started. yeah, freedom, exciting adventurs, here we came.

At university the picking up of report cards was a bit more nerve racking: we were all gathered in the main aula of the department and the deacon started first to call out the names of the students that passed with the highest marks and then lower and lower. If you failed, you were not called out loud. I was quite fortunate to hear my name each year relatively soon so my stress switched quickly to relief. But then your ears start listening to hear the names of good friends, ...the longer it took, the greater the stress on their faces.
After that, all of us ran out to a way too small office where we had to collect in great chaos our report cards to see the details of our results. Obviously there was no cleaning of rooms done by us, but the vacation period also called the end of a year, some goodbyes to friends that were changing courses or schools, ....

Right now, I am a working girl. The idea of 2-3 months of vacation are just a wishful dream. I get vacation when I take some vacation but unfortunately never that long. Nevertheless I often catch myself to still think that a year starts in september and ends in the summer. I confuse other people about stating having done this last year, when it was just before the summer, etc... Hey, I was in school for >20 years, I cannot shake that feeling off so easily!

The last 2 years I worked on an ERP implementation project. That has officially ended "last year" in December and since January I am part of the IS team. However in reality, the ancient team was still sharing an office in the 'chalet' still working on some follow-up smaller projects. But last Thursday we had to empty the chalet because it is used as a company day-care during summer. So I had to pack up my stuff and move truly to the IS department. And for the first time after 3,5 years in this job I won't be working directly with my ex-boss again. And we said goodbye to some consultants that have worked with us over the last 2 years as well. It was a little bit the end of the schoolyear in my job as well. Let's hope summer vacation will be as exciting as in the past!

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