Tear streaked faces with runny noses along with convulsive crying are a constant on the first day of school for many parents of five year olds. Parents don’t fear it will be okay, I know you’re nervous. Oh you thought I was talking about the children…well they too have their moments. However most often it is the parents who are the most devastated that their little baby is now truly a big kid. Sadly, what was often thought the safest place for children has become a place of uncertain safety, adding to parents fears.
I clearly recall my first day of kindergarten. During the walk to my school, my mom kept reassuring me that I would have fun and learn new things. When we arrived to my classroom, I encountered a new class mate who was crying her eyes out. She was worried her mommy would not come back.
My mom advised me when she was finished speaking with the teacher, she looked for me. She was happy to see that I was comforting another child and quickly slipped out the door. I do remember looking up and seeing that she was gone and feeling a little bit panicked but remembered what she told me.
Through the years my mom and I would talk about my first day of kindergarten often. She was always so proud of me and the fact that without hesitation I was comforting a new classmate. My mom believed that was an indication she had instilled in me the need to be compassionate toward others.
First days can be tough and scary. They involve getting to know new people or places. We are taken outside of our comfort zone and put into unfamiliar territory. Whether we are a 5-year-old, new to the school system or a 14-year-old going to high school or 18-year-old entering college, it can cause internal angst being put into new situations.
Another first day of school significant in my memory is high school. Being an only child, I let Seventeen magazine be my guide for all things related to teen fashion and lifestyle. Starting at around the age of 13, I purchased the latest edition of my favorite magazine monthly…by the end of each month the pages were dog-eared. My outfit for the first day of high school was inspired directly from the pages of Seventeen.
However, on this the day when I felt very grown up it wasn’t my outfit that received all the attention. Walking to my school a fellow male classmate looked at me and laughed. Yes, he laughed at a 14-year-old female who was trying to find her way in the world. When asked what was so funny, he replied “your cheeks”. I was devastated.
The first minute I had the chance, I looked at myself in a school bathroom mirror. Even in the awful contraption that was suppose to be a mirror, I realized I had applied way too much blush. I did indeed look funny and started to laugh at my own reflection. I didn’t wear much makeup after that day…nor do I to this day except for special occasions. I have since learned the proper method of applying blush but still very seldom wear it.
First days can be scary days indeed. They can provide us with queasy stomachs make us want to run and hide. However, we become a little stronger and a little more knowledgeable dealing with situations that are new to us from these experiences. All our lives there will be first days. First dates are first days with a new potential partner. There are those first days on a new job, when we feel a little unsure of ourselves even if you possess years of professional experience. I can only imagine the first day for a surgeon.
Across the United States and in other countries around the globe there are many first days occurring. New graduates starting their first professional job or new students starting their first day of school all may feel nervous. Innovators developing start up businesses. As I told my new classmate a long long long time ago it will be okay…you will do great.
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