When you’re little, all you want to do is grow up. But when you’re older and responsibilities begin flooding in, there is nothing you want more in this world than crawl in to your mother’s arms and let her take care of all your problems.
Unfortunately, that’s now how life works. Instead, you’ll spend the greatest, happiest years of your life in elementary school, playing on the playground and having snack time. But when you’re in elementary school, especially the first few years, it feels like your parents are abandoning you every morning they drop you off at school. You try as hard as you can to not cry, as you wave solemnly to your parents’ cars as they drive past you. You get shuffled in to the school building by some total strangers that are supposedly not a part of the “stranger danger” philosophy that parents spend years grinding in to your head.
And you sit in a classroom quietly, staring at your Little mermaid tennis shoes that your mother helped you tie up this morning. And if you’re lucky, another person comes over and says hello. A hello that can change your life and lead to a lifelong friendship.
Even as you slowly grow used to the pace of school with a period for reading, a specific time for math, a time for science and history, and a short break for lunch with a recess soon after that seems to go by way too fast. You gradually go from one grade to another and every year a new teacher, whom you’ve never met before give you that same glossy lipstick smile and a little folder with your name on the top of it. You take the folder from her perfectly manicured nails and walk to your designated seat.
And this rotation repeats until you get to Middle School, where the days in the classroom seems to drag on and on with no reprieve in sight. Sitting in windowless classrooms, completely oblivious to the outside world for six hours a day, five days a week. High school wasn’t much better than this awfully awkward time where people keep on telling you “your body is changing” like you’ll magically become a flying unicorn or something or they’ll tell “you’re becoming an adult,”while they’re still pinching you on the cheeks.
Anyway the first two years of high school is just as awkward as middle school because everyone is till in the midst of puberty and trying to find a crowd they could fit in to. The last two years of high school, the time where everything finally comes together, is the time you say goodbye to what might be the best years of your life. The friends you made while still having metal braces in your mouth and acne on your face are the friends you’ll probably keep for a lifetime because these friends were there in all the awkward stages of your life. And you guys went through all the awkwardness together, what could bring you closer to any other person than that?
Now, you’re in college and you start again, feeling like a little kindergartener standing quietly by the door, waiting for the teacher to acknowledge you. But this time it’s scarier, there is no parent for you to run to, no familiar face for you hold on to, and no comforting arms to fall in to. You’re in college and you’re by yourself in unfamiliar territory. All the friends you made in middle and high school, all your safety nets are gone. And you’re back to wondering where you should sit or who would let you sit next to them, back to wondering if those muffled snickers are directed at you or if the stares you feel boring in to your back are real.
But sooner or later, those snickers or stares won’t matter anymore because who cares? Just do what you got to do. You’re there for an education anyway not to get trashed on the weekends. But when graduation day comes, you can be proud at what you achieved. Next step, career hunting…