It is back to school time all over the country and for once I am not feeling the pressures of getting everything ready to go for my first day back to school.

It is also a bit of a strange feeling to me. No more new backpack, no more new pens and no more new notebooks. This is the first year I will not be going back to school.

I graduated from Pitt State in December and decided against graduate school. Probably a good idea for me because I am already scared of my student loans.

Now I am watching all the new students get ready for school, buying their new outfits, getting back on a schedule and I feel a little pang of sadness. I always did enjoy shopping for a new backpack. Oh well someday everyone has to join the big kid world and I do love being a big kid some days.

I have to say all of my school experiences were pretty good. I can't say that I feel like anything I did in school was not fun. Yes I may have been a little nerdy, but I went to such a small high school in such a small district that everyone knew everyone and there really were no cliques in my school. There were not enough of us to be that way. So everyone just kind of ran with everyone.

I enjoyed the small town school, but I have to say when I first moved to LaCygne I think my brother and I may have suffered a little culture shock. Before LaCygne we had never really lived in any small towns. We lived in suburbs and cities, and we lived in a lot of different states, but no small towns that I recall. Even so I enjoyed making the friends I did and having a chance to really bond with people. My high school experiences were fun and it was pretty cool to graduate high school with people I had grown up with. We had so much fun together and we were a tight knit group for the most part.

Then came college. Another adventure, another fun time. I went to college with some of those people I graduated high school with. A few of us actually. Some of my very best friends went to college with me. Like Amber, I know I have talked about her before. How we wound up in the same major without even realizing it. It was nice to have that little piece of my elementary/middle/high school life right there with me. Amber is still a big part of my life. She always will be. She and I spent some time talking the other day about how strange it feels to not be going back to school. She warned me it would be a little weird. I think she was right.

Oh well. I guess I will just have to live vicariously through my sister, who is starting her junior year of high school, though not too much. I kind of like being a big kid now, with a big kid job. It's not so bad I guess - except for not getting a brand new backpack each year.

(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Cherokee County News-Advocate. She can be emailed at stefanie.cope@sekvoice.com.)