For me, the days bridging the end of August and the beginning of September are also the first few weeks of school. It’s also the time of year when I most frequently get asked questions such as What do you think of ___ year so far? Do you like your classes? Do you like your teachers?
They’re usually asked as either a) a broad conversation opener by an acquaintance/friend or b) an honest inquiry from my parents. My automatic response to the first group is ‘Good! How about you?’ It’s like a reflex, similar to how I answer when people ask me how I’m doing.
My instinctive answer to the latter is ‘Fine, don’t worry about it.’ It’s because I know that if I respond in any way besides neutrally, my dad will want to analyze my answer and my mom will either get excited and ask follow-up questions like ‘Very good? Or just good?’ or get genuinely anxious and ask a different set follow-up questions. Neither of which are particularly helpful responses.
But honestly? That’s a very untrue answer. It’s false. Incorrect. Wrong.
I might’ve liked first days when I was little, but since sixth grade, I know I haven’t. They’re just kind of boring. This is what they’ve been like. (If my description seems a bit different, it might be because I go to a private school.) In middle school we sorted through school supplies, created passwords and set up all our accounts (such as for the school website and Turnitin), and went over rules. On top of that, I as an art student had to initial every piece of art equipment we received. That included individual colored pencils.
In high school, first days have changed up somewhat, but they’re still the same at the core. Teachers go over syllabuses (or is it syllabi? according to WordPress, it’s syllables), we fill in questionnaires, and the administrators have an assembly and talk about the same things: uniform rules, other rules such as having clear waterbottles filled with clear water, consequence descriptions, and warnings about how this is the year they’re going to start giving girls detentions for short skirts. Riveting stuff.
However, my trouble with the beginnings of school years isn’t just the first day. It’s the first few weeks. I remember how last year (freshman year), most of the people in my grade were excited about high school and all the new “freedoms” we had. Ten minute passing periods instead of four, being able to buy snacks at the store portable on campus during school hours, being able to use our phones at school while we’re not in class.
As for me, I did not like those first few weeks. It would be better if I could look back on my actual thoughts from last year, but I’m not sure which notebook I was writing in at the time and where it is. From what I remember though, the major thing was the size jump. I went from middle school and being in a hall that had at most two grades in it to being in high school and sharing a building with three other and older grades.
It was only a jump from about two hundred fifty people to maybe six hundred (which probably seems miniscule if you go to a normal-sized public school), but the switch felt bigger than I had anticipated. I was never scared of the upperclassmen like some of my friends were, but being around them did take getting used to.
This year, that didn’t faze me at all. It actually felt weird when I walked in on the first day of school this time around and felt so completely comfortable in the high school building while remembering how out of place and unsure I had felt the year before.
This time around, the adjusting has had to do with something else. The things that other people might dislike (waking up early, homework, the actual school part of school) aren’t things I had too hard of a time getting used to. It was the opposite- it’s been strange noticing how quickly I fall into the daily rhythms of school.
This time around, it’s more of the people part of the school equation that I’m refiguring out- the class dynamics, the teachers, the easy and short conversations, the being around people for hours after spending most of my time by myself for three months.
After a solid month of school, I think I’m finally to the point of truly getting into the groove of this school year. That might seem like a long time- maybe even too long of a time, but that’s something I’m learning: if I’m in the process of deliberately adjusting to change, telling myself I’m taking too long only adds grief and guilt to the mess.
It will take how long it takes, and however long it does, that’s the right amount.
Have you used ever Turnitin? It’s a website that checks for plagarism.
What’s the transition between summer and school like for you?
Does it come easy to talk to your parents about school happenings or are you more like me? Telling my parents about my day is not something I’m naturally inclined to do, and I’m not sure why. I have to consciously make an effort to do so.