By the time this article is read, I will have completed exactly one week of high school. I will have walked through my classes, gotten my textbooks, written some notes, and possibly even taken a test. I will have sat through five lunches, five study halls, and five math classes. I will most likely have homework, be studying, and planning for reports and papers. In nine days, I will have made it through exactly one week of school. And I have no idea how I feel about that.
Normally, I get excited around the end of summer. I’m ready for the new school year to start. The freedom and ease of summer will have faded into boredom, and I will be thrilled to have something new to lift the monotony. Thoughts of school will make me so excited that I have to go check over my school supplies again, imagining using all of the objects in class. Normally, I’ll be counting down the days until I can see my friends again, until I can ride my bike to school, and have a sense of purpose again.
However, that doesn’t seem to be happening this year. I don’t think I’m ready for the school year to start. I feel like I could use a hundred more days of nothing, of easy monotony. I would cherish having more time to prepare for the school year, and what it will bring. Now, when I go to look over my school supplies, it isn’t only because I’m excited. It’s because I feel unprepared, nervous, unsure. This year, there is no counting down because I can’t wait. I count down because I need to know how much time I have left.
The reason for my nervousness could be because of how busy I have been this summer. Between summer homework, black belt essays, and marching band preparation and practice, I have had significantly less downtime than other summers. Perhaps that’s leaving me with a feeling that I never truly got to enjoy the two or three months of nothing, of relaxing. I don’t feel that I need to recapture a sense of purpose, because I never truly lost it over the summer.
It could also be because I have no idea what high school will bring. When I went into seventh and eighth grade, I knew what to expect. I had done it all before. It was the same buses, same playground, same cafeteria. We had the same principal, same rules, and same expectations. Even when I made the transition into middle school, I was still at the same school. I walked through the same hallways, and arrived by the same route. I knew for the most part what to expect, and I understood what would happen.
High school is completely different. For one thing, it’s an entirely different school. There’s a strange layout, long hallways, unfamiliar classrooms, unknown teachers, different classes, and new kids. I don’t know what to expect, or how to figure it all out. My older sister will be a Senior this year, which has helped me immensely, but I still feel as if there is no way to ever fully be prepared for high school. It seems like it’s something that you can’t ever be ready for until you’ve been through it. Which doesn’t sit well with someone like me.
I remember a time years and years ago when I first found out what the word “anxious” meant. I was going into second grade. This was my first “big” transition. Kindergarteners and first graders have all their classrooms on one side of the elementary school, and the second graders are all on the other side. When you graduate to the second grade, not only do you move hallways, you get lockers instead of cubby’s. For some reason, this upgrade to real lockers made the move seem a whole lot more imposing to me, and I found myself feeling nervous along with my usual excitement.
As my mom walked me to my classroom, she asked me how I was feeling. And I replied honestly by telling her that I was excited, but also really nervous. I didn’t understand how I could be both, how I could want the school year to start, and yet still be terrified of all the huge changes. My mom told me that what I was feeling “anxious”.
I guess that could be pretty close to what I’m feeling now. I would appreciate thousands of more summer days. I wouldn’t hesitate if someone offered me more time. But at the same time, there is a part of me that wants to get the year started. A part of me that wants to find out what the year will hold, both the challenges and the fun. I’m excited to see my friends again, and learn Spanish, and march with the band. I’m nervous that I will get lost, or feel too stressed, or fall down with my snare drum. But most of all, I’m just anxious to get started. See you next week!
“Reprinted from Hagel Publications, Inc. dba as Courier Newspapers”