I was homeschooled ever since fifth grade, but, lucky for me, the area in which I live is home to LOTS of homeschoolers so I was around other kids quite a bit. Even so, my first day back in regular school was as scary as anything.
I’m a very confident person, so it was not as awful as it could have been, but it was still nerve-wracking… for many reasons. First off, my school is home to fifteen hundred kids, a whopping one-five-double O. And that’s just sophomores, juniors, and seniors (freshman are with the eighth graders in another building). It’s such a big school that I have met countless teens in other venues and have been surprised to learn that they attend my school. Reason #2: I had left school in fifth grade due to elementary bullying (girl world is starting younger and younger!) and my former antagonist goes to the school I was entering (as a side note, I have not had any problems with her- or any other people, for that matter- thus far) I definitely didn’t want to see her. Reason #3: the one girl I had met from the high school and had become friends with had grown progressively crazier over the summer months (maybe heatstroke or something… hmmm…) and she was beginning to take part in… pastimes… I didn’t really dig (you’re all smart; you get my drift). And reason #4: I had signed up for two AP classes and an advanced math class… my math skills are about as existent as the Dodo bird. That was probably the scariest part of going back to “real school.” Math class.
The first couple days of school were fun, only awkward at lunch when I wasn’t sure where to sit. But, as the end of the school year approached, it had gotten to the point where my close friends looked at me as we walk down the hall and said, “You know EVERYBODY!” Exaggeration? Of course! But I have made a lot of friends, and a the biggest reason why are my First Day Skills….
1.) CONFIDENCE: OK, I know you shy people out there are staring at this going, “Yeah, not happening, lady,” but confidence is not a personality, it’s a learned habit. And, the good news is, IT’S EASILY FAKED! Look people in the eye, smile widely, walk tall with your shoulders back – this is key – and speak like you’re presenting your dissertation. People are drawn to confident people: shy confident people, out-going confident people, crazy confident people… BE CONFIDENT!… OR FAKE IT!
2.) JUDGE: OKKKKK, NOT right, lady. You’re telling me to judge now? Here’s the deal; your teachers, counselors, parents, pastors, and most importantly (right?) HOLLYWOOD will tell you, “Don’t judge, love everyone.” Truth. Love everyone. But here’s something you should know: all judgement is not bad. Example: you’re walking down a city street at night and you see a man wearing sagging pants, a baggy T-shirt, lots of bling, and is smoking a cigarette. The color of his skin is irrelevant, so don’t visualize skin. You look at him, and you think, “He’s probably a very nice person. He’s probably just wearing a big T-shirt because it’s comfortable, and the bling is there because he just went shopping and he wanted to wear it all at one time. The cigarette… well, maybe he’s European. I’ll ask him for directions.” Good idea? Absolutely not! Horrible idea! Especially if you’re a girl! Granted, he may be a perfectly nice gentleman who was just at a costume party and decided to dress up as a rapper or something, but do you really want to take that chance? The same is true for school. Be nice to everyone, but sound judgement is alright. Don’t get mixed up with the druggies because you didn’t want to judge them. And if you think I’m being racist right now, think again: I didn’t mention anything about race… you’re the one associating these descriptions with a specific race.
3.) BREAK THE COMFORT ZONE: on the first day of school, the comfort zone is a bad place to be. To stay in the comfort zone is sort of like social suicide. By sticking to yourself, unwilling to put yourself out there, you are not doing anything to help your situation improve. One of the most important things to realize is that, chances are, people are going to like you! I know that may sound kind of nuts-o and a little wack, but it’s pretty much true. Granted, there will be people who don’t like you, hey, such is life. I’m sure there are people you don’t like. But, chances are you’ll probably get along with the majority of people you meet. I’m not saying you’ll wind up best friends with the world, but you’ll at least be on good terms with people. And, if you dislike the majority of people you meet then, chances are, you’re probably taking the whole “judge” thing to the next level.
I’m not going to promise that you’ll make best friends on the first day, but these steps will help you get started on the right foot and, most likely, have a better first day. And maybe it won’t happen on the first day. It can be really hard just to get through the first day even without thinking, “Walk straight! Shoulders back! Talk to people! Break my comfort zone!” So, if all else fails, just look in the mirror the night after your first day and say, “Hey, EurOK.” and try it again tomorrow 🙂