I have a recurring dream where I am in a school hallway searching for my locker. Everyone else is safely scurrying into the proper classroom, and the air is thick with anticipation for the tardy bell, but I cannot find my locker. My mind is racing to remember the number while my eyes fly back and forth across the expanse of puke green metal rectangles as if watching a world-class table tennis match, hoping that something will trigger which one is my locker, but all hope is apparently lost. I suddenly remember that there was a locker assignment list posted on a bulletin board on the first day of classes, so I race to the wrong bulletin board a time or two or five or at least to one where the anxious search through names and numbers reveals no clues as to the location of the lost locker. The tardy bell is simply taunting me now, threatening to pierce the silence of the hallway at any moment and ruin me.
It is a terrible dream.
Sometimes I find my locker, or maybe I do. At least I am at a locker, fumbling with a combination, clearly not remembering anything helpful. Or maybe God likes me after all and I both find and open my locker but then cannot remember my class schedule and/or which books to take to class and/or if I even have the right books and/or what day it is in the first place.
Welcome back to school, boys and girls. May it haunt you for as long as it has haunted me.
Other than the occasional traumatic nightmare, I am generally a happy person who likes school so much that it is now my place of employment. If you count about a decade when my first day of school role was simply as dad, I have now participated in a first day of school since 1975; in fact, I cannot remember a year without one, and there is no end in sight. At my place of work, today is the 2015 version of that tradition. It is going to be awesome.
We call it Launch Week now, and we are going to blow the minds of these students and not just because we will assign them lockers today. They are in for a life-changing week (and year), and I could not be more excited.
That recurring nightmare reminds me on a semi-regular basis that formal education has the potential to be a teensy bit psychologically disturbing what with teaching us how it feels to be last or late or lost. But, my oh my, the potential upside is so fantastic that even if I could find the words I’d be afraid to write them because their intense goodness might just explode and leave an awful mess.
Welcome back to school everyone, and in particular welcome to the Pepperdine University School of Law you budding lawyers. Together, we will laugh and cry and question and dream and love and argue and struggle and hope and disagree and grow and encounter new people and ideas and friends and challenges and be better from the experience.
Today is one of my happiest days. May you, too, regardless of your station in life this fine day, seek the opportunity to learn in community.