I was 15 before I had my first real first day of school. I’d been homeschooled mostly up until my Sophomore year of high school, and while we took a picture every year on the front steps on the first day my brother and I started school, that was the first day I was going to school without knowing almost anyone, and without really knowing what to expect. Of all my first days of school, I wish I had a picture of that one.
OH WAIT. I do.
Well, sort of. I know I took this student I.D. picture the first week of school. (And yes, my eyes really were that squinty.) Recently, one of my best friends, with whom I had four classes that Sophomore year, shared her first impressions of me: “You were nice, but you were LOUD.” That about covers it. But I love that boisterous Sophomore just the same. She was nervous but excited, like Troy Bolton on his first day of college, and that year turned out to be one of the best of her young life. And it just kept getting better.
Here’s my student I.D. picture from Senior year. By then, I think I was more than just loud. And nice. I grew up a lot in the intervening years, but more importantly, I found a home at that school that made every student feel special and celebrated the first day of high school with the freshman while they simultaneously cheered the seniors on their last first day of high school. I like this picture a lot because it has a funny story behind it (the teacher taking the picture keep taking them and deleting them because of the aforementioned squintiness, until I finally smiled to her liking) and because I think it looks most like me as a Senior in high school. I love that Senior just as much as I love her Sophomore self.
Today is my first day of school. It’s the first day of classes for the second year of my Master’s Program in History. It’s a big year, full of big dreams and big decisions and hard work and nervous but excited laughter. I’ll probably take a picture. And when I do, I’ll be thinking of those pictures and this song, and wishing everyone a very happy school year. After all, the first day of school only comes once a year.
P.S. FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!