This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ticonderoga. All opinions are 100% mine.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to the first day of school more than any other day of the year. Even Christmas and Easter, two holidays featuring candy, food and presents couldn’t really compare to the excitement of a new school year. Figuring out the complicated relationships with teachers (were they going to be parental figures to look up to or mean witches who would hit me with a ruler?) and navigating new friendships while nurturing old ones, my thoughts were full of hope and excitement about getting another year older and another year closer to graduation. More than that, I felt myself come alive once I was in school. I looked forward to English and Art classes the most, as my main motivations in life were drawing and writing stories. I have wanted to be a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and school provided countless opportunities for me to create my stories and illustrate them. As I got older, I carried around a lined notebook with me everywhere, my Ticonderoga pencil threaded through the spiral binding, ready to write down every thought that occurred to me. I wore those pencils down to nubs, going through them at a rate that made my mother’s head spin. Money was tight, and school supplies were a once a year thing. Once they were gone, they were gone. Thankfully, my teachers always seemed to have an endless supply, and since I was an A+ student for most of my life, and they all knew my aspirations to be a writer, none of them ever turned me down when I asked for a new one. Amazingly enough, after my high school graduation, I went on to study journalism in college. Student loans meant I could invest in everything I needed, so I had a shelf stocked full of Ticonderoga pencils above my desk, pulling them out for classes, drawing in my sketchbook and writing in my journals. Throughout my twenties, I kept detailed diaries of my life. I would create travel journals full of stories and illustrations for every port of call. I had notebooks full of sample chapters for novels I intended to write. And I had endless sketches that I would then transfer onto art paper or canvas to paint. And then I had children of my own, and suddenly I was faced with the school supplies I was required to buy, which included my beloved Ticonderoga pencils. I had to smile as I bought several packs at the store – some I donated to my kids’ classrooms, some were given to them for their desks, some were kept at home so they could keep up with their homework. But I also had to keep some for myself. Something about holding that pencil in my hands after all these years working on computers and with digital media made me reminisce about all those years from my childhood. There’s a beautiful sense memory when you hold a pencil up to your nose and smell it. Or hold it in your hand and feel that perfect balance across your fingers. Even the Ticonderoga branding is easy to recognize. In fact, I couldn’t tell you a single other pencil brand that I could recognize. If ever there was a symbol of back to school, I truly think the Ticonderoga HB 2 pencil would be it. I can only hope my children grow up with the same appreciation for this time of year and all of the hope and wonder that can be experienced only by a child on his first day of school.