To My Son On His First Day Of High School
First Day Jitters. I Remember It Well.
I know you are nervous and afraid. Afraid of what it will be like. Afraid and unsure of what to expect. Not knowing or completely understanding where this new path in life will lead. This is high school, and I remember it well. So I can empathize with you.
The stress you are feeling now as you get ready for that first day. Do your clothes look alright? Is your hair sticking up in a weird way? These are just some of the questions you vocalize, but I know there are many more that you are not sharing. Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re worried about, so you can’t put it into words. I remember it well.
Do you have the binders you need and the pencils/pens and other assorted items that you can’t do without? What if you don’t have the exact item your teacher wants you to have? Will there be time to get it today after school? Will there still be that new calculator in the store? What if they are out of stock and you can’t get it for 4 weeks? Will you fail your first ever class? I remember it well.
What about finding your way off the bus? Will you get lost? What if you trip and stumble? You don’t want to draw any unnecessary attention your way. Not yet. At least not by making a fool of yourself. Oh boy, do I remember it well.
Will you remember where your locker is and remember the combination? Once you finally do, and you finally open that locker with shaky hands, will you notice those around you? Will everyone see how scared you are? Will you see a familiar face? What are you doing here anyway? I remember it all too well.
What about finding your homeroom? You know where it is, but who will be in it? And are you sure you know where it is? What if you are wrong? What if you think you know where it is, but you are wrong and have to go to the office and ask? How embarrassing. I remember that as well!
What will your teachers be like? Will they smile? Will they say hello and acknowledge you? Should you sit in the front or the middle or the back? What if your name isn’t called out? What if you are in the wrong class and everyone notices because you have to raise your hand to tell the teacher? Do you run out? Do you say something? Is there a way to just melt into the woodwork and disappear? OMG, I remember it well.
And then there’s lunch! Where will you sit? Who will you sit with? Who will sit with you? What if there aren’t any seats around? What if, for the love of God, there isn’t a soul you know?! What will you do? Do you sit by yourself and barely get a mouthful of food because your stomach hasn’t calmed down since last night and now its working overtime to twist itself into the most intricate pattern that even a skilled professional cannot undo? Yep, I remember that too well.
Oh boy, you’ve made it to the end of the day but, where was your bus and what number was it? It’s the end of the day and still you are unsure of what to expect. What if you can’t find it and miss the bus? Will you have to go find a teacher to, help you? How embarrassing! Are you destined to stay at school and sit outside until you get picked up? Everyone will wonder “What’s up with the guy?” I remember it really, really well.
Yes, once I was in your shoes. I know it’s hard to believe. I remember the anxiety and stress of the first day, but only because you are going through it now. What I truly remember are the friendships and the laughter. I remember the football games and the Friday nights. I remember the first kisses and the pep rallies. I remember the teachers and camaraderie. Those are the things I remember well. These are the things I remember well and these are things you will remember as well too. Once you get through this first day. Once you get past the uncertainty and the nerves and the anxiety. It may take a few days, but I have faith that you will quickly forget what you are feeling now. High school will become a second home to you. You will begin to feel your wings grow, and I will begin to feel the wind they create, as you grow into the confident young man you are meant to be and you walk down the new path your life has created for you.