F or the first time since the world shut down in March 2020, I walked through the doors of high school. I nervously asked some faculty members where my classroom was, and could barely summon the words to answer my teacher when she asked what my name was. My entire first day was, to be completely honest, terrifying.
Despite many students going back to face-to-face school last year, I opted for homeschooling. While it was incredibly beneficial, especially during the lockdown, I missed being able to physically see my friends and teachers every day. Coupled with the large amount of work I had to do while homeschooling, my parents and I both decided that going back to traditional school would be the best option.
However, I never expected to be faced with an almost overwhelming fear the first day. It didn’t make sense, as I already had some friends at the school and all of my classmates were nothing but kind to me. Every aspect of the school day was something new I needed to adjust to, making it even harder. I remember doubting whether or not I should have transferred back to traditional school, I missed the comfort I felt from studying within the confines of my bedroom.
Nonetheless, I kept going. I was already enrolled, there was no going back now. The days of having to introduce myself to new people ended, and we started our first few lessons.
Suddenly, around two weeks after school started, I noticed that I felt a lot more comfortable. I had a lunch table with friends who I talked to every single day, my grades were good and I could talk to my classmates without feeling nervous. I also felt a lot less stressed. My teachers were helpful, always willing to explain a topic further in case you missed it the first time. This was a huge deal to me, as I had to scour the internet for answers while I was homeschooled because I didn’t have a teacher to clarify my lessons.
Slowly but surely, I adjusted to the school rules and I was even voted as temporary class president.
I couldn’t help but feel really happy that, not even a month later, I had gone from simply surviving the school day to thriving in my new learning environment. As the days went by, my doubts about my decision to go back to traditional school melted away. With this, I want to share a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
First, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of making friends; however, finding people you enjoy spending time with makes all the difference. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to make amazing friends over the past month. While having alone time is good, it can feel quite isolating to not interact with anyone the whole day. Most of the time, you can find at least one person who shares an interest with you.
Next, know that you aren’t the only person feeling this way. There were a few other new students in my class and we ended up talking a lot about our experience in the school. It helped a lot to hear that I wasn’t the only one who struggled adjusting to the environment. Additionally, being in the same position as someone will make it a lot easier to make friends with them.
Finally, remember that, regardless of how long it may take, you will eventually get used to a new routine. Change can be nerve-wracking, especially if you dive headfirst into a new situation. Still, this will not last forever. Over time, you may be surprised at the difference between the first day and now.
Going back to traditional school after three years felt overwhelming at first, especially after getting used to studying in the comforts of home. While I sometimes still get nervous when doing presentations in front of class and when meeting new people, I am so grateful that, with the help of those around me, I’ve been able to adjust and thrive in a new learning environment. —CONTRIBUTED INQ