I love the feeling of having a post locked up away in my mind, saving it for the near future. I love the feeling of sitting down at my laptop on a low-key Friday afternoon, and unleashing every word that’s left up there. It’s cathartic, in a way.
Wednesday was my 12th first day of school. Yet, on my 12th first day, I felt the butterflies one would feel in kindergarten—the feeling of uncertainty, the slight excitement, the equal resentment. My summer was great, but not incredible enough to keep me going. I was almost ready for school, to see those I hadn’t seen since the blistering days of June. Surprisingly, I was also ready for my classes. I walked in the first day with the optimism I so wish I always carried, ready to tackle the year. The freshmen, as always, were minuscule beings in the hallways—you could practically smell the fear. Sophomores were indifferent, as sophomores always are. And then juniors; us. Together, some of us spent our 12th first day together. This is mind blowing for me. There’s a certain camaraderie that forms with spending so much time together, regardless of differences. Nonetheless, I always feel the degree of separation in our class, a void that never fills up. Everyone was different on day one—inches taller, dyed hair, tan skin….the typical summer results. I always find myself doing head-to-toe analyses of everyone who walks by me on the first day of school, an immediate reflex that means no harm. And every year, I find myself fascinated by the drastic changes of some people—the way summer can mold personalities into new shapes. I never know if I change—never realize it until later. I definitely have over the years, but never drastically over the summer. Although, summer is a spectacular time to find “yourself.”
As I hoped, my classes were fantastic. The classes are challenging enough to maintain my interest, while manageable (so far….I am taking AP Chem). In fact, I started a book for fun the other night, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which has, much to my surprise, captured my interest from the first word, a rare instance for books (good book suggestion for anyone interested in Afghanistan, good writing, a classic). After three days of school, I barely have any weekend homework. I’d like to consider these three days as my last official days of summer.
There’s a certain air at SB that reminds me of why I love it there. Simultaneously, I often feel a certain repulsion for the place, for the people. It’s the way that anything can become old after a while. Every hallway is familiar, every room, every minute. The way the receiver for the announcements feels in the early morning and mid-afternoon reminds me of the place I hold in the school. We have a community that builds throughout the year, and breaks apart at the end. This week, the beginning, the community has felt scattered, incomplete. And every beginning leaves me hesitant to love the place. By mid-year, I usually find my place—my niche, to say the least. I usually begin to love it, but I often long for the past during the first few weeks of the school year. Sophomore year, regardless of a multitude of flaws, was truly fantastic. The work was unmanageable, drama prevalent, stress an all-time high—but it felt right. The teachers were friends, and classes had a sort of intimacy you don’t typically find in high school. Junior year is the opposite, yet I already find comfort in my classes—French reminds me of old cobblestone Paris streets and my unparalleled love for the language; English reminds me of who I am as a writer, the way words can be as sweet as blossoming flowers and as vicious as the thorns on the stem; Chem reminds me that even science is an art that slowly becomes an object of affection over time, as it has for me; Peer Leadership reminds me of how I used to be a wallflower, and how familiar people from my childhood can bring that diffidence out from within me.
Of the twelve first days I’ve had, most remarkable is 5th grade, the last of a long journey. In a classroom warmed by colors on the wall, the day started with an obligatory hug from the teacher. By obligatory, I mean that we weren’t allowed in the classroom until she gave us a hug, as was every following day for the rest of the year. The class was intimate, to say the least, but it was the sweetest way to preserve those elementary years before the daunting real years began. The first day of sophomore year feels like yesterday, an unrelenting amount of stress that slowly pushed down my shoulders, until they broke only days later (I’ve learned to manage my stress since…). Yet, first days in general rarely leave imprints in my mind. They feel like trivial moments that pass rapidly. I find this upsetting; first days set the tone for the year, the first impressions of the journey ahead. It’s my way of judging the book of the year by its cover (a faux-pas I’m guilty of continuously committing). I have a good feeling about this coming year, a gut instinct that tells me it’ll be filled with fulfilling moments.
Besides school, I’ve realized that I have several travel plans this coming year. Before the obvious Russia/Estonia/Finland next summer, I’m going to India (again) this winter, spending a few days in Agra to see the Taj Mahal and a few days in good ‘ol Calcutta (photojournalism, anyone?). Summer travel plans, I’ve talked about plenty (lately, I’ve been spending an unnecessary amount of time looking up pictures of St. Petersburg and Talinn). Senior year, my band teacher is hoping to take us to Bavaria to compete in a music festival there that her husband and her are organizing. My second trip to Germany, I hope I’ll able to make the trip/it works out. Either way, there’ll be plenty of travelling (once again) this year, and plenty of travel journals. Sometimes without a bit of travel, my blog posts seem bare, redundant. I need some action in my life!
That’s all I have for now. Happy end-of-the-summer, happy Labor Day, happy first-week-of-school; here’s an invisible toast to an excellent summer, and another terrific year!