Back-to-school season is possibly one of the best times of the year. People see their friends again after summer and reconnect. Everyone goes back to class and starts fresh. Excitement is alive in the air from the back-to-school atmosphere.

One of the greatest feelings that comes with a new school year is buying new school and organizational supplies. It is a feeling all its own just to walk into an office supply store and purchase new notebooks, pens, pencils, binders and other school supplies. You buy all the supplies you might need and walk out of that store with a feeling of great joy and pride mixed with motivation, but there seems to be no reason for this positivity.

After buying those school supplies, somehow a month or two later that feeling that was there disappears along with a majority of the pens and pencils that were bought. The motivation to do well is still there but that joy and pride is gone completely. The notebooks, pens, pencils and folders are still there, but one is left wondering where the feeling that came along with them went. 

That feeling that was gone as fast as it arrived is what is called the illusion of productivity. When standing in that store deciding whether to get the blue five-subject notebook versus the green three-subject notebook, there was a belief that this year would be different. 

It was decided that this year complete organization would be key, and so folders for each class were bought, along with highlighters to color-code notes. Those pens would not get lost, and they would even have their own pouch in the backpack, but October rolls around, and still those pens have vanished. There are those lucky few who are able to not lose the majority of their pens, but many people have suffered the fate of the vanishing pens. It is not that they were purposely lost; it is simply that most pens and pencils are doomed to be lost in all the notebooks and binders. Even if pens and pencils are not lost, that feeling still fades, and there is no way of stopping it.

Although the pens are lost in “the twilight zone,” the folders are being used as well as the highlighters, but the organization is not as neat as when it was pictured while shopping. It is not that laziness took over or that people do not care, it just happened somewhere between doing the reading and studying for classes. The motivation to do well in all classes is still there, and that makes up for the disappearing feeling of joy that the organizational and school supplies brought. 

There is no need to worry because either in January or next August, when there are new notebooks and pens to be purchased, that feeling of joy and pride will return. The cycle will begin again and that feeling will fade as quickly as it came. Students will fight on and keep trying to hold on to that feeling of organizational pride and hopefully that feeling will last until November. Maybe this will be the year that those pens are not lost in the dark abyss of backpacks and folders.

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