First Day of School tells the author’s story of his first day of kindergarten, which began a lifelong love for learning and education that led him to entering college to pursue a degree in English and Writing.
After yesterday’s story, I’ve decided to keep with the theme of telling personal anecdotes this week for a couple reasons. First, they are fun to write, which ultimately is one of my goals for this blog. Second, it’s easy to gauge how short or long I want to make them, which provides balance to posts that might be longer or shorter than usual. I mentioned how August was always a month marked by back-to-school sales and a sense of anticipation for the school year to come. I was not, like most other kids, nervous or upset to see the summer end by any means: I have always been an avid lover of education. So today I’ll tell the short story of the first day of school that ignited my passion for learning.
Let’s set the scene: August, 2001. The air was cool and crisp with the last vestiges of the summer heat slowly rising up from the ground. Small feet excitedly smack against the pavement, stopping periodically at the gentle tug of Mother’s hand. I was 5 years old then and excited to enter Kindergarten. With my Tarzan lunch box packed safety in my bag and its accompanying Thermos filled to the brim with Juicy Juice, I tugged my mother’s hand hard as we made our way to the bus stop. I was ready for the journey.
However, it seemed my peers were not. As the bright yellow bus halted before us, a plague of sadness seemed to fall over everyone except my mother and me. We watched as the children screamed for their parents, fighting desperately against the bus driver as she tried to get them onboard. They desperately threw out their tiny hands toward their mothers, who wept at the sight of their children being forced to leave them to go to school. Needless to share, my mother and I were not so sentimental.
I excitedly jumped up the steps and threw myself down into the first seat. Only when I had adjusted my backpack so I could sit comfortable did I remember my mother. She stood there waving cheerfully amidst the misery around her. I waved back, flashing my white, tiny teeth as I waited impatiently for the others to board the bus. Years later, my father still asks my mother why she couldn’t squeeze just one tear out, even to stand in solidarity with the other parents. “Why would I cry?” she says every time. “He was so excited to go to school. Why would I ruin that?” It’s a good perspective, I feel. And being freed of her children for half the day was, no doubt, an added incentive.
As I debate the possibility of entering into a Masters program to further my education, I am reminded of that first day on the school bus, waving cheerfully to my mom. Then I think of middle school, when I stood awkwardly in my new school uniform in front of my house, eager to see my new school. And then my first day of college, when my dad insisted on a photo of him hugging me around the knees. But for me, going to school was less work and more pleasure. So to any students returning to school this year, appreciate the time you have left: education is a privilege unavailable to many who might benefit from its influence. So smile as you pack that lunch, take a deep breath before starting your exams, and laugh at the group projects or lengthy assignments that fall across your desk. It will be over before you know it, so love it while it lasts.