School-nonfiction version | Teen Ink

School-nonfiction version

September 29, 2021
By AlissaWhitlock SILVER, Cicero, Indiana
AlissaWhitlock SILVER, Cicero, Indiana
6 articles 1 photo 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength” -Philippians 4:13


I still remember the excitement I felt during my first day of school. I spent the entire week beforehand making pencils covered in bright colored paper and tape, with little animal heads on the erasers, hoping to impress people into being my friends. I still remember the pride I felt in my first day of school dress, my hair brushed and layed down. My best shoes on and backpack stuffed tidily. I even took out one of my most prized possessions, a little bottle of perfume I made when I was little. Somehow it ended up smelling good, although I just dumped in oils  any way I liked. I remember handling it like it was made of solid gold as I dumped it on my wrist. The smell of pine tickled my nose and I looked happily into the mirror, this was going to be the best day ever!  

      I ran out of my room into the family room, and got ready to walk out the door when mom said “hold up! First day of school picture!” Grinning, I posed against the door with the biggest smile on my face. My older brother was a bit less enthusiastic, and my younger brother hadn’t even woken yet. Shaking with excitement, I ran out and Mom jumped into the backseat in our car. In my mind I pictured a thousand different scenarios of what could happen at school, some got pretty crazy, considering all I know about school is based on books I read. Mostly fiction or realistic fiction, and the diary of a wimpy kid I would snatch from my brother when I read all my books. Finally, we got to the school. Kids everywhere were jumping out of cars, some with grins and some with frowns, but nobody had a grin as big as me on that day. 

       I opened my car door and, for the barest moment, hesitated. “Have a great day at school, honey!” my mom cried, giving me the push I needed. I smiled back at her and jumped onto the concrete sidewalk. The sun was coming up and was soft on my face as I practically skipped up to the door.

       “Good morning.” Mrs Bell said halfheartedly to me and all the others, who pretty much ignored her. I, however, was thrilled somebody took notice of me.

     “Good morning!” I said back happily, earning a smile. I skipped into the gym and my heart missed a beat. It was full of kids, talking, screaming, and, worst of all, cussing. In my house even saying oh my Gosh, but with a d, is considered bad, so this was horrifying to me. Plus, I discovered in that moment a trait of myself that would haunt me the rest of my life:

       I had horrific social anxiety.I froze in place, My heart thumping in my chest. The sound was deafening, a roar of words drowning out all else. On shaky feet I walked over to the bleacher and sat down, curling into a ball and shaking slightly. I don’t think I had ever seen so many people in my life, and having homeschooled most of my life, aside from preschool, I had no idea how to approach-much less talk to and make friends with- girls my age. Boys were easier (I had two brothers) and I felt completely at ease around adults, ironically. 

       Suddenly a loud bell rang, scaring the wits out of me, and like a busted dam all the kids got up at one a swept towards the door. Frozen in fear, I finally got up the nerve to stand up and walk towards the doors, which now seemed like a mouth waiting to swallow me up. I shook my head quickly, it was just a fantasy. I fumbled in my backpack for my schedule and read the first line: Mr James-Homeroom. Homeroom? I thought to myself. Shrugging, I began to look at the door labels until I finally found the door I was looking for and walked in, seeing a few rows of orange desk chairs. I sat down and put my backpack on the floor next to me. Class started soon, and a middle aged man came in and took attendance, something completely new to me. Afterwards he introduced himself:

       “Hello class, my name is Mr James. You will call me Mr James No Smith or ‘teach’” I looked at him in confusion, everybody knows the respectful way to greet a teacher is by their last name, right? He continued to introduce himself, and we played two truths and a lie until the bell rang, scaring me once more but I believe I was beginning to get used to it. I went to my next class, right down the hall: Mrs Dungeon I walked in and sat down again with my backpack. Mrs Dungeon came by me;

       “I’m sorry sweetie, but you aren’t allowed to have backpacks here. You can keep it in the back for the time being.” Confused, I did as she told me. But, in the diary of a wimpy kid movie my brother watches, I thought they carry their backpacks everywhere! Like homeroom, this class was simply more introductions. Finally the bell rang, and this time I stopped at my locker to put up my backpack, easily opening the lock by spinning it the way my mother had shown me on the practice lock she bought me.

       The rest of the day was a blur of ringing bells, shuffling feet, kids yelling and teachers calling attendance, the panic of a hallway full of kids and the terror of an empty one, unveiling that you are the last one to class. Teachers introducing themself, and over all, noise noise noise. I had gotten a concussion not too long before and loud noises still bothered me, plus I was a quiet child overall. Finally, I made it to lunchtime. I had heard we were having hamburgers, and I was looking forward to it. When I got my hamburger I looked at it a bit in distaste, then thought it probably just looked a bit different then normal, being school food.

       I walked out of the lunch line, and froze as I found myself facing the worst calamity a new kid can face. All around me were kids at tables, laughing and stuffing themselves with food, and nowhere for me to sit. Finally I spotted a table with one seat open, and with lively conversation, and decided it would be a great place to blend in. I sat down and ducked my head shyly, and decided to try my hamburger. Now, I must admit I was a little bit spoiled, as my mom cooked homemade meals for us most every night, and she was quite a good cook, and whenever we made burgers she or my dad grilled and added seasoning in plenty till the fragrant smell made out our mouths water. I picked up the hamburger, wincing at the squishy, moist consistency. Ignoring it, I picked it up and breathed in a weird smell that can only be described as school food smell. I hesitantly took a bite and nearly brought it back up, it tasted bland and was squishy and tough, but choked it down on account of being hungry. 

      “Hi! What’s your name?” A girl said and I looked up in shock. A pretty tall girl with blonde hair was looking at me and smiling. Later I would learn her name was Susie , and she was as close to popular as you could get in real life. We even became casual friends, but at this moment, I was terrified.

     “Uh..Silvar ..my name's Silvar..” I said, sounding as awkward as I felt. She nodded once, probably sensing my shyness of thinking I was just quiet, then went back to chatting with her friends. But I didn't mind so much anymore, I felt included.

       The rest of the day was more introductions, rules rush and noise, but finally, it all ended when I walked out onto the car line and waited for my mom. Finally I spotted her, and walked slowly up towards the car. I opened the door and sat down in the front seat. “So?” Mom said “how was it?” I couldn’t control it anymore. The tears sprang to my eyes and came rushing out, along with the story. I’m sure mom didn’t understand much of it though, my voice was choked with sobs, my eyes wet with tears. Finally, when I had spent my tears and sat in sad silence. Mom turned toward me again. “I know honey, but it will get better I promise.” I sat in silence, not believing her.

       That day was two years ago. More, by now, and yet I still remember the sense of terror I felt on that drive home. It was like never I had ever seen before, the noise, the rush, the stress. But perhaps the worst part was feeling lost.. physically, I have never been good at directions, and mentally on account of having nobody to talk to during those hectic 7 hours. I recall begging my mom to homeschool me again, but boy, am I glad she refused. The next day was better, as was the next, and the next and so on. I admit I never was jumping off the walls with joy on account of waking up at 6:30 to go to school, but If I could choose between staying home all my life or going to school,


       I’d choose school every time, but I’ll never forget that first day…and I’ll never get over my social anxiety, I fear.


The author's comments:

This memoir is about my very first day at public school, after a life of being homeschooled my entire life, aside from a short period where I went to preschool for a year in a private school. Turns out, the nonfiction version of school is much different then the fiction versions I'd read.


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