As the days start to get shorter, it becomes obvious that another summer is coming to an end.
That means no more midnight campfires with friends, no more warm, sandy, crystal-clear blue water beaches or concerts featuring the latest hip-hop, pop or R&B favorites.
Every darkening leaf carries your lost spirit as you realize the two summer reading list books you ignored all summer still need to be read.
However, with two weeks counting down you have a higher priority: the inevitable question about what to wear on the first day back to school.
Malls everywhere are crowded with paranoid students, worried they’ll choose badly.
In two hours, whole summer allowances are blown and parents’ credit cards maxed.
All around are Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess and Nordstroms bags, overflowing with low-rise denim jeans, tees, corduroy-lined fur jackets, shoes and outfits which could last the whole duration of a high school career, or at least the fall season.
With almost three months of summer gone and the crease of neither summer reading book bent, and just three days left before school, the only option is to skim and then search for a more productive way to study.
Using the Internet, students study Cliff notes, frantically reviewing the themes, ideas and characters relevant to each novel — and applicable for the annual tests.
On the much-anticipated, and yet still for some fearful, first day of school younger stu-dents storm out of the yellow limos or their parents’ cars, with the fear of being seen, while older students coolly drive in their fresh leather-scented, shined cars to leave in the reserved student parking.
Meeting up with friends, many of whom haven’t been seen through the summer, is refreshing.
But walking through the threshold of English class is terrifying.
Taking your assigned seat, both hands get sweaty and your blue ink pen in your right hand gets hard to hold from the new moist lining.
Then Mr. Miller places on your desk the rival: the dreaded test on summer reading.
You answer each question as best you can, improvising here and there to make the story plot of which you are ignorant more interesting, and then hand in the paper in unison with the school bell.
The next day, at the same time, your paper returns, almost red from the numerous corrections, and you realize you should have taken more time to study.
But you smile anyway, remembering that looking good and having a memorable summer easily compensate for one bad grade.
Besides, you still have the whole year to follow, plenty of time to do better.
Angelique Caligiuri is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.