That Back to School Smell, You Know What I'm Talking About!

, originally uploaded by giggle1025.

Was the excitement the one which created that special smell that filled the air year after year, grade after grade on September 1st? The scent of myriads of sharp pencils, new books, backpacks, shoes and everything along with freshly sanitized classrooms and the first tangerines – still green – packed for the 10 o’clock break by all the lucky students - theses simply cannot explain this strange phenomenon. I can smell hints of the September 1st smells sometimes when I enter art and office supplies stores, but it’s never quite exactly the same.

There must be something, some kind of a hormone responsible for this particular scent. Perhaps an enourmous amount of pheromones exuded from hundreds of young students with mixed feeling of excitement – consisting of fear from the unknown and thirst for learning – along with that of teachers’ attitude towards another year confining themselves and the youngsters between the walls of artificial intelligence-injection institution.

Perhaps it is the sleepless night that preceded September 1st that causes this feeling. It must create a particular illusion of the September 1st smell in one’s brain, when they least expect it. Proof: I had a good nights sleep and I can’t smell it right now!

However, every time I visit my daughter’s school at the beginning of the year, I smell it. Even though it’s in a completely different country than where I grew up in. The school sanitizers here don’t smell the same. The pencils might even be made from a completely different type of wood. And there are none of those first tangerine I told you about to be seen for a million miles and not until Christmas really.

I called my daughter’s teacher on the phone a few days ago to confirm our parent-teacher conference time - apologizing for disturbing her last days of summer vacation. But I didn’t need to apologize: she was in the class herself, getting ready for the school year already. I bet she was busy preparing that little atmosphere device that releases the September 1st smell all over the school on the first couple of days for when the students return to their desks. Teachers across the world spend all summer making sure their scent is synchronized and that on that very first day, all schools around the world will smell the same, and that these little students will never forget them. They might have had to vow an oath of secrecy before getting their licenses, to never reveal the secret of this ancient scent.

If you’re a teacher, please come forth and shed some light on this mystery. I promise to keep your reply anonymously.

Back to the top