As the end of my sophomore year of college approaches, I am increasingly becoming more overwhelmed with just about everything. That essay that is due at the end of this week? I still have to start it. Two quizzes and an exam in one day? I am not remotely ready to take any of them. Did I even eat more than one meal today? I highly doubt it. How many hours of sleep did I get last night -- was it three or four? Who knows? Definitely not me, that's for sure.
I took a moment to re-examine a time where school was not my breaking point -- fourth grade. Here is what I miss the most about being a fourth-grader:
1. No one really cared about what you looked like
You could be a little overweight, missing a few teeth, or have a wacky hair cut and it would not matter to anyone in the slightest. It starts to matter when you get older and look back at what you looked like in those hideous class photos.
2. The worst insult you could receive were along the lines of "loser" or "weird"
Ah, the beauty of childhood innocence. The worst insults I received in elementary school were that I was a "cry baby" or I had "four eyes." Now, I laugh that I was actually offended by these remarks. The things people call me today would appall my little 9-year-old self.
3. Everyone got a Valentine's Day card
We all gave out the mini valentine's cards with our favorite movie characters on them to everyone in our class (in my case, it was puppy and kitty valentines). And no one was ever left out.
4. And on someone's birthday, we all got cupcakes
Shout out to all the dedicated parents that baked cupcakes for the class on their kid's birthday. On their birthday, it was all of our birthdays as well.
5. It was socially acceptable to carry around a stuffed animal 24\7
Now, if I carry around my stuffed animal, my maturity level would be in question. I miss when I would bring my stuffed animals to class and have them "learn" with me.
6. You pretty much got along with everyone in your class
A minor conflict would arise every now and then, but overall, nothing too serious.
7. Snack time
That 15-minute break in between subjects when we'd all get to munch on some cookies, chips, or whatever your parents packed you.
It was the daily opportunity to let all the stored up energy from sitting in your desk all morning out.
9. The opportunity during recess to play on the playground
How would we get all of our bottled up energy out? The playground, of course! My personal favorite was the swing set, where I'd swing as high as I can and jump off. Lots of grass stains were acquired on the playground, as well scrapes, bruises, and scratches. All that didn't matter as long as we got to get some fresh air before going back into the classroom.
10. And when the weather was nasty... indoor recess!
Not all days were sunny and cheerful. When it was raining, snowing, or just plain cold, we'd have our 45 minutes of recess in the classroom. It wasn't much, but it was nice to be introduced to new board games with classmates.
11. Book fairs
Being the bookworm I was and still am, this was always an exciting time for me.
12. The hardest math you were exposed to was memorizing the times tables
Anyone remember these?
13. The hardest tests we took were spelling tests
Every Friday, we were tested on 20 new words, and every Monday, we received a list of 20 more words to learn for the next test.
14. And the hardest science lessons were taught by Bill Nye the Science Guy
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If you weren't exposed to him at any point in elementary school, I feel bad for you.
15. Homework took less than an hour to complete
I wish that were the ideology college professors would have. It takes most of the night to finish all the assignments I receive from my classes.
16. All the awesome birthday parties we were invited to
From arts and crafts, to the movies, to bowling, to pool parties in the summer, they were the most fun I'd have outside of school.
17. Let's not forget the goodie bags after the party...
It was like we were being rewarded to be social.
18. School assemblies
We'd gather in the auditorium (in my case, we did not have an auditorium, so we used the gym) and watch whatever the school arranged for us. Some of them were very entertaining, others were just informal events. As long as we got out of class, all was well.
19. Snow days
We all get snow days in middle, high school, and sometimes college, but it was so much different when you were in elementary school. It would be a race to put on your snow suit, jacket, gloves, hat, etc. so we could have as much time in the snow as possible. It was even more exciting when my dad would take my brothers and I sledding. Snow days were great as a fourth-grader.
20. Our teachers were unforgettable
(Yes, this is my fourth grade teacher and I back in 2006. I had a tendency of looking dopey in most of my childhood pictures).
They got to spend seven hours with you five days a week. They taught you all the basic skills you still use today. And honestly, they impacted you in a way no other teacher could come close to. The moments you shared with them in the classroom are moments you'll remember for the rest of your life.