“I’ll take the biggest size”
Mum had delegated the task of buying my high school uniform to Dad, and being a very practical man, he decided that buying school uniforms every year was for suckers; and anyway I’d grow into it, eventually! You can just imagine me on that first day, a lanky awkward teen just swimming in a size 16 dress down well past my knees.
Getting ready to go back to school was always an exciting time for me when I was young, even though it meant that the holidays were over, seeing my friends again and catching up on all the summer gossip was eagerly awaited.
Being a geeky kid, I loved going through book lists and ticking off all the essentials, my favourite part was choosing ‘trendy’ adhesive book covering and spending a whole day ‘contacting’ my school books. Diaries of course needed extra creative attention, and hours were spent cutting out images from Smash Hits and Dolly magazine to create the perfect collage of teen heart throbs and stickers. By the end of the year it would all eventually be covered in a combination of doodles and liquid paper pen graffiti.
I always wanted everything on the book list, but mum always reined it in. Looking back now I understand why, ‘Back to School’ can be an expensive time of year, especially after Christmas, I can’t imagine they were flush with extra cash for brand new everything. But we always made do, and I started every school year with a mix of trepidation as to what the year ahead had in store, and eagerness to see my friends and learn new things.
Now that I’m a parent I understand how important it is to give my child both emotional and material support to make the challenges of the school year easier to face and encourage a growing mind. Emma’s first day of school was quite the mix of emotions for both of us, it was hard to leave her on that first day, but every year it gets easier and nothing makes me prouder than seeing her walk into school, backpack on, lunchbox packed, with her head held high because she is excited to learn.
To beat the last minute back to school shopping rush, we popped into Officeworks to stock up on school supplies this week, it’s a one-stop-school shop, offering the widest range of school supplies at guaranteed lowest prices. Our list this year is small as Emma is only in grade 2, but as she gets older and the lists get longer, I can see her poring over every item and begging me for that ‘must have’ pencil case!
We are in a privileged position that buying our ‘back to school essentials’ isn’t a financial hardship, but for many Australian kids growing up in disadvantage, even buying the most basic of school needs can be tough.
Luckily The Smith Family provides long-term educational support through it’s Learning for Life program by providing young Australians in need with not only financial assistance, but also community and educational support. In Australia today, one in seven children are growing up in a jobless family. Research shows that these children are more likely to experience financial hardship as adults. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. A child’s circumstances can determine their future.
“We want to break this cycle. We want them to be able to create a new future for themselves. That’s why we support them to succeed at school.” – The Smith Family
Officeworks will once again be partnering with The Smith Family to support the Back to School Appeal and we can all help by making a donation in-store or online when we do our own back to school shopping. Just purchase a stationery donation card at the counter, write your name on it and stick it to the display wall. I think we’ll make a donation as part of our back to school list every year.
Check out the Officeworks website for a range of articles and videos to help you and your kids get back to school.
Oh and if you were wondering, that long baggy dress did get me through all of high school, every year was a little less embarrassing, and I grew into it at about year 10 (and then my sister wore it after that too).