First Day Nerves

(pictured, me at some modeling shoot on our “test” day of kindergarten, 1998) 

It’s the beginning of September. It’s getting a little chilly out, the threat of pumpkin spice lattes returning to Starbucks and alluring white girls from every corner of America is just ahead, and kids are going back to school.

Or kids are going to school for the very first time. In that fab picture of me, I’m not technically on my first day of kindergarten. It was our test day. Do you remember those? Did everyone have those? Little buses picked me and a few others up on our street to bring us to the elementary school for like, two hours of “practicing” what it would be like on the real day so we wouldn’t pee our pants, or something.

I seem like I’m having a pretty good time. Even though we did this test day and everything went swimmingly well, and I looked pretty great and probably impressed a bunch of people, first days are always pretty hard, no matter how many “test days” you have.

On my first day of kindergarten, I was shocked when I had to pay for my milk at snack time. But we went over this on test day! The teacher said. I guess I had forgotten. The teacher paid for it, but only for that day. I also discovered that kids form cliques pretty fast.  In our classroom, there was the red table in the front, the yellow table in the middle, the blue table near the windows, and the green table on the other side of the room where the sinks were. It didn’t matter who sat where. For some reason, all of the tables were associated with a type of person.

The red table people were the nerds. They sat at the front of the class and actually listened to the teacher.

The yellow table kids were smart and nice. I don’t know what it had to do with the color or where the table was, but they were just smart and nice.

The blue table kids were gross, because this kid who threw up all the time, Matthew G., sat at the blue table cause it was close to the garbage.

And the green table was for the cool kids. Dark green was a rebellious color, and I’m just realizing that that’s where I get my association for this color. From kindergarten! The green table was always getting in trouble for laughing and goofing off.

I still had a good time in kindergarten, but not when I sat at the blue table.

On the first day of the first grade, I discovered what meanies were really like. Remember Ali R. from Ali R and the Best Comeback Ever? Yeah, she graced me with her presence for the first time in first grade. She didn’t like me from the start. Probably because I showed up on the first day so glamorous, if the header image is any indication on how I showed up to these gigs.

On the first day in the fifth grade, I went to a completely new school with a bunch of new people. I was in the same town and everything, but all of our elementary schools mushed together to form a SUPER SCHOOL. It wasn’t quite elementary but not middle school yet. I was in a class with a bunch of uggos I didn’t know, and all I wanted to do was to get back together with my Sandy Hook friends, who were on opposite sides of this new gargantuan school. (Just so you know, I stopped being cute once I hit the fifth grade. My family will tell you otherwise, but I know the truth. All the baby fat stayed on me and I turned into this doughy, slouchy thing.)

On the first day of high school, I wore what I thought was the most bangin’ outfit ever. I wore dark blue jeans that were slightly too long for me, a cable knit zip up cardigan with a lacy camisole underneath, and my hair was straightened past its life. That first day was the scariest of them all. I didn’t know where any of the classes were (We went over the map of the school over the summer!) and there were even more people I had to worry about there. A very awkward time. Also, I got a ketchup stain on that nice sweater that day.

On my first day of college, I had to engage in totally awkward ice breakers with my entire dormitory. I had to face the cringe-worthy realization that I had made a fool of myself on Facebook prior to arriving by trying to recruit a Lady Gaga fan-club. (I’m still perplexed by this). I had no clue what busses to take to get to what building (We went over this during orientation!), and I literally had no clue what I was doing.

I think there are a few morals of this story.

A) I never know what I am doing

B) I looked good in kindergarten

C) I began this post thinking I was about to give advice on getting nervous on first days, but I am not qualified at all. I’m never not nervous on a first day, whether that be at school, work, or just hanging out with a new friend. I am a nervous wreck and literally getting me to do anything new is like pulling teeth. I marvel at people who don’t get nervous about these things. (But I also get mad at people who say “Oh my gosh I am so nervous!!!” then turn out to be social butterflies). I’m more like an anti-social caterpillar.

I should write that book.

The Anti-Social Caterpillar- A thrilling children’s tale about an introverted insect who never builds his cocoon and never becomes a butterfly and instead stays in with a bowl of Chunky Monkey and watches Gilmore Girls. 

Here’s to first days, then.

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