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.

13 comments:

  1. I too moved a lot growing up. Including a new middle school in a new city followed by a new high school in a new city - yuck.

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  2. How awful. I can't believe the teachers and administration allowed it to happen.

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  3. There were two moves that were traumatic for me growing up. The first was having to repeat kindergarten because my mom thought it would be okay to pull me out six weeks before the end of the year and not re-enroll until the following year. The second wazs moving from a major metro area (again in the last six weeks!)to the armpit of the universe known only for a little girl falling down a well years before our move. Ugh. We have managed not to move once since our children started school. Hope we can stay put for their sake!

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  4. I never had that; we didn't move at all, so that experience escaped me, thankfully. Knowing you, it made you more assertive as you had to stand up for yourself.

    That kind of hazing sounds so...ugly. Yuck!

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  5. I completely do not understand. Were there no grown-ups at that school?

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  6. That is horrifying. What was the administration (not) thinking?!

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  7. I wonder how many therapists have heard that story years later from different students of that school. Yikes!

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  8. What a wonderful slice of life! Thanks so much for sharing---it's really taking me back. :-)

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  9. I'm one of those people who HATED High School. Except for classes...my experience sucked.

    And I wasn't even new. I had been there since 8th grade.

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  10. Ouch! The Matron cannot read posts like this at the moment without breaking down! Because her oldest is going to a brand new school where he knows NOBODY, Tuesday. He's a wreck. So am I/she!

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  11. Congrats on the new belt!

    I have two kids starting a new high school this week. Fortunately, they are both soccer players and have started practices already, so they will know some kids before the big day.

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  12. Loved the first day of school, but I'm a freak. I guess.

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  13. I also hated the first day at school.

    But we all go through it somehow!

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Spill it, reader.