BTSN – again

by Anna Blake Patrick

So the time has come, once again, for that awkward night of the year, BTSN (Back to School Night).

Parents take off, anxious to make a good impression on the teachers, and to see a glimpse into our daily lives. Teachers, tired from a full day of, well, us, then trying to charm the parents in frenetic 10-minute blocks. It all seems like a good idea, right?

First, it starts with the clothes – what should they wear – dressy, casual–wait, should they try to look like students (plaid shirts, platform tennis shoes)? Please don’t try so hard.

As soon as they step through the front doors and into both the Main and Drinkward Center Buildings, necks crane over cell phones trying to figure where to meet their advisory group.

“Wait, hon, aren’t we in DC.220?” she whispers. 

“No, no, it’s DC.212,” he brusquely replies. 

But 212 is dark, save a lone student with a guitar. 

Where is an Ambassador in a green Aardvark shirt? 

Panicked parents run around, hunting desperately for the right class and trying to arrive on time. Others search with great intensity for a map of the school. 

“Did your kid print a schedule?” 

“No, wait, yes, but there are no times.” 

“Wait, where are we supposed to be?”

Crammed in warm classrooms, wondering how soon they can get their cellphones from the cubby – no, “Parking Lot” (the blue pouches on the door).

Ten more minutes in and parents flood the hallways like rivers with colliding currents; some had a faint image of a classroom in their minds while others hadn’t even the foggiest of what ‘BDH.56’ meant at all, much less where it could possibly be located. 

“PLAAAAAAAHHNTS! GET YOUR PLAAAAAAAHNTS!” a stately voice exclaims through the corridors. “PLAAAHNTS!” Parents descended as if it were an electronics sale at Best Buy.

Now to the next class with the perky language teacher – wait, is she calling on us in Spanish? Parents are now sweating bullets.

The tables have officially been turned.

Time is up! Off to gathering. Announcements are made. Thank goodness they don’t have to sit on the floor. And what is this ‘single-clap’ thing? Parents just can’t seem to get it. And after every announcement, you hear the single echo of someone who forgot to clap just once.

“PLAAAAAHNTS! LAAAHST CHAAHNCE FOR PLAAAAHNTS!”

Gathering is over, take off for the next room – don’t be late. Wait, how many more blocks do we have to go?!


Could this intensity that our parents faced possibly be what we, as students, face every single day? Could this mayhem possibly be our daily routine, something that has been ingrained in our minds to the point where we’re numb to the frenzy? We may never know. But there they go, off to the next block, plaaahnts in hand.

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