My very first day of school, specifically pre-school was well over 4 decades ago. However, I remember it and each milestone first day from then on. But the most significant day that sticks with me is my first day of high school. I remember shopping for the all-important high school wardrobe in South Carolina, during summer vacation while visiting my grandparents. I had the luck of a grandmother who was fashion forward and kept up with the latest trends, so it was easy to recreate some of the pages of my favorite magazine, Seventeen. Back home in Chicago with my closet filled and organized with the perfect pieces and new shoes and boots, I felt prepared to venture into the world of high school.
In addition to the perfect garments you must have the latest hair style and perfect make-up. Well at least that is what a 14 year old me thought at the time. I remember practicing and practicing my make-up every day. A little bit of eye shadow, and some blush with a little bit of lipstick. Not too much just enough. I had the make-up perfect and the Saturday prior to school, I had the perfect hairstyle a modified Farrah Fawcett flip (remember it was the end of the 70’s). Up early on that first day…very early since I had about a 1 ½ hour commute from the West Side of Chicago to the South Side, I began to prepare. I remember layering on makeup a little more than I had practiced (it didn’t dawn on me that it was dawn). My perfect outfit was a muted mint green sweater set that had matching pants. Underneath I wore a white Peter Pan blouse, I looked like I stepped out of the pages of Seventeen.
During my journey carrying my brand new bookbag and looking what I thought was like a grown up, I took the stares from other passengers on the L-train as a compliment. For me to get to school it required either two buses and then L-train or two different L-train lines and one bus. Upon finally descending the steps at 63rd and Stony Island (which is no longer a stop or line), I was pushed a little in the hustle and bustle. A fellow male classmate who ended up being in my division room turned and asked, “Was I a clown?” Shocked, I responded with “that was mean.” He said, “I’m sorry but your cheeks are red like a clown.” Once in the school I dipped into a restroom and to my horror saw that he was correct in his comments. I realized at that point that good lightening was better for applying make-up and that I would never wear it again.
In addition to my make-up revealing my freshman status, my outfit also shouted freshy, freshy, freshy. I realized that most people didn’t wear their new clothes on the first day of classes. And if they did the new clothes didn’t look new. Being an only child these are tips that I didn’t learn from an older sibling but soon under the guidance of fellow classmates learned the tools to make it through high school. Even though my first day of high school had some moments where I wanted to crawl into a hole, I survived. Soon I began to make what would become lifetime friendships and memories. My first day as you can tell was etched in my mind but didn’t change who I am.
Around the United States today was the first day of school. Whether primary, middle, high school or even college the first day of classes is a special time. It is a time to meet new friends and learn new subjects. To anyone starting a new endeavor whether in school or career go into it with gusto and take in all that your new experience has to offer. Also, remember to plan out that perfect outfit that makes you feel your best.
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