Sam’s professor last week had asked this question to the group of brand new graduate students. Apparently the mutual answer was Kindergarten. You enter a new classroom, and some of them may never have experienced Preschool, and you’re forced to make new friends and actually obey a new authority figure. And then you get comfortable, and happy, and content, until you have to move up to the big bad first grade, and make new friends all over again, and the homework is harder too because you have to learn addition and it just baffles you. Sam was hoping that my answer would be Kindergarten (at least I think so)…only I can’t remember entering Kindergarten. I luckily already made a new best friend BEFORE I entered my class, and it was by chance. I also loved the first day of school. It was one of my favorite days of the year. Once it hit August, I had a countdown going because I’m extremely weird.
My mother took me Back-To-School shopping where I updated my wardrobe, bought new school supplies that I wanted to dig into once I got home. It was my holiday. And I always walked in on that first day with confidence…a brand new Jess.
Secondly, I must point out that I went to the same school from Kindergarten all the way to the 8th grade. None of the students changed, only the teachers did, and we typically knew those “new” teachers well already because of how small the school was. I was shoved into my comfort zone the entire time until I reached high school.
School never scared me. It actually comforted me and I feel at home when I’m at school, which is probably why I keep going to school even now. I could have stopped after college, and like many people, be happy that I don’t have to deal with homework for the first time in almost twenty years. But that’s what made me uncomfortable. Just the thought of it scared the pants off of me. I’ve never just not done school work, or attended class regularly. What the heck was I going to do with all that free time? I was planning for college in the 7th grade…and suddenly it was over.
So now I do wonder what on earth was my first uncomfortable moment? Meeting my soon-to-be stepbrothers when I was nine didn’t go over well considering I kept vacuuming and didn’t greet them at the door. My Great Aunt’s funeral. My mind can’t go back too far because the world and my surroundings were too hard to grasp yet for me to truly feel uncomfortable.
What I love about children is that they may feel uncomfortable in a new surrounding, but give them an activity together, and it’s as if they have been friends for a lifetime. You like the color purple too? We were meant to be best friends! It was as simple as that. I believe that life gets more complicated and uncomfortable the older we get, not the other way around. Now, as an adult, we feel we need to impress a new person we meet in order to strike up a conversation. Conversations don’t always easily begin with one another, and you have to force yourself to think of things you may have in common. You listen to the tone of their voice, their mannerisms, and the things they say, and unfortunately, the chemistry isn’t always there. It is much harder to make friends now than when I was in Kindergarten. You have now lived a good portion of your life, and you know the type of people you want in it, and who to avoid.
I really don’t have a simple answer to Sam’s question. But perhaps you can think of one.