The First Day of School

Starting kindergarten is the scariest, that very first day of school, not knowing what to expect. Grasping your mother’s hand tightly in your own as you make your way to the bus stop, clinging to her leg, pleading with her to come with you. But she just gives you a kiss, hands you your lunch and tells you she’ll be waiting right here when you get home. When you arrive, you meet your teacher, a sweet woman with pearls and a smile as big and bright as the sun itself.

The colorful toys distract you, and you have already declared your classmates to be your best friends. You’re not scared anymore, and getting that sticker on your paper for doing a good job is one of the proudest moments of your life. Soon after you look forward to the first day of school, the new teachers and classmates, and getting to use your new pack of crayons with the built-in sharpener excite you. The new notebooks in your bag, decorated with your favorite superhero or television character, are brand new and ready to be filled with all the new things you learn. But eventually, the novelty wears off. By middle school, you don’t race to the bus stop anymore.

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The first day is not about being able to show off your new colored pencils, but your clothes. And instead of wanting to make new friends, you look forward to seeing your old ones. Once again, you are nervous to get on the bus. But this time your mother isn’t standing next to you, but your best friend is in her place. And now your only worry is if your friends will be in your class with you.

When you arrive, you are greeted by an old lady yelling out directions to all the incoming students, sorting them by last name into homerooms. And when you see the indifferent look on your teacher’s face as she hands out schedules, you begin miss the warm smile that had greeted you so many times before. By the time high school comes, that first day is a mess of emotions. Standing half awake at the bus stop, you curse whoever’s idea it was to wake up this early. But you still have your best friend by your side, and the excitement of seeing the friends you miss so much begins to override the distaste for the early hour.

You arrive, taking in the bustle of the masses around the building as you step off the bus. You manage to find some friendly faces among the many unfamiliar ones. Somehow you manage to make your way through the crowded hallways, being bounced around like a pinball most times, to your homeroom. All of this is so new, and you take it in as you fall into your seat, looking around at the faces that would be with you all year. And that last first day, of your senior year.

That will be the worst. Wishing you could hold your mother’s hand, you stand facing the day that will be the start of your last year of school. The last year before you are on your own, before you are in college, before you are an adult. That may be the best and worst day of school.