Friday, August 29, 2008
First Day of School
I've never been a fan of the first day of school. When I was in elementary school I was horribly shy and the very idea of all those strangers freaked me out. Add to the equation a regular move every 4 years to a new state/house/district and I was forever having "first days."
The worst was high school. We'd moved over the summer so I knew no one. My mother had filled my head with her insane ideas of the terrors of high school--it was certain I'd be force-fed drugs no matter how many times I said "no!" and shoved into a locker. I got off the bus, jostled and pushed and shoved to the ground by the teenage citizens of my new community--a community where people didn't move to, so to be the new kid was quite rare. That particular first day, in addition to the stress of being Brand New and starting High School, I was greeted at the main doors of the building by a line of upperclassmen manning tables. Each freshman had to "weigh in" that first day--the first Senior prank of that year. They made each kid stand on the scale and then wrote their weight on a "Hi, my name is" sticker which was then slapped to the corresponding chest.
I remember vividly my horror while I stood hefting my backpack up on my shoulders. Freshmen were shoved onto the scales amid jeering and laughter. One girl was literally carried to the scale and placed on it while she protested. The vague faces of strangers whizzed in and out my consciousness while I tried to move forward toward the doors.
And to my surprise, they let me pass by unnoticed. For the first time, being new on the first day was to my advantage. Nobody knew I was a Freshman, nobody knew to prop me onto a scale, nobody knew to haze me that first week. That first day I passed muster without additional suffering. Too bad the rest of my four years at that high school weren't filled with the same good fortune.