Like most people, I have had many “last days of school” in my lifetime, from kindergarten all the way through college.

This week, many Missoula students will celebrate their final day in the classroom — at least until the start of the next school year.

This time of year brings back great memories of the excitement I felt as I cleaned out my locker, turned in my books and walked out of those big double doors with visions of ice cream cones, swimming pools, sleepovers and long bike rides in my head.

I might not have a three-month summer vacation to look forward to anymore, but this week I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt a trace of that familiar excitement — a feeling of relief and possibility — that once accompanied the start of summer.

So, in the spirit of new beginnings, I decided to create my own version of the last day of school. Instead of going through my locker and cleaning out the garbage, I went through my closet and filled up a bag of clothes to donate to Goodwill.

I packed away my winter wardrobe and replaced it with the summer clothes that have been sitting in storage tubs for the last nine months. Boots were replaced with sandals, and I even dug out my beach towel and swimsuit — just in case the weather takes a turn for the awesome this weekend.

It might be wishful thinking, but hey, it’s summer — anything is possible.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.