The First Day(s)

On the first day of public school (second grade for me since I'd homeschooled before that), I remember we took a short spelling quiz. The word was lion. I spelled it, then looked at my neighbor's page. I didn't know that was cheating then. He had spelled it "loin." I shrugged, that seemed wrong but hey, I was new there, what did I know? I changed mine. When we got the quiz back later, graded, I saw the red mark on that word. Screw you guys, I thought. I'm doing things my way from here on out.

The first day of middle school, I remember we were out at recess and saw that there was no playground. What in the world were we going to do during breaks and lunch? my best friend and I wondered. Look at all those older kids, just standing around and talking. So boring. So we played tag.

My first day of high school was maybe my least favorite first day. Brand new at a tiny private school, wearing a uniform, everyone else knew each other, all my friends were at another school, this sucks. I was practically mute all day long, and gained the nickname "Whisper" as I sat between two guys in computer class that talked over me for an hour. I lost that nickname quickly, and we three are still friends to this day.

First day of college. I wore my favorite shirt, a purple one. Later that night, after socializing at another dorm, I bounded into the study area near my room. Finished my psychology reading and work by 2 am. This is gonna be easy, I thought! Balancing social life and college studies! Nailed it! How naive I was.

And today, first day of graduate school. After notebook shopping and coffee with a friend, we entered class with energy and brand new lined paper. The professor that I emailed a year ago about his research, who agreed to my request for a scholarship affiliation, who I've been in touch with a few times with updates since then... walked slowly and intimidatingly into the room. He mumbled to our friend, "Is this BUSM11?" Um, yes. This is your class. He rambled on a bit in a deep Swedish accent. Then he asked the international students to introduce themselves and give a brief background (not enough time for the Swedes, he said). My turn came. "My name is Corinne and I'm from Cal-"
"We've been emailing?" He interrupted. "Yes," and I felt even more heads turn to me than before.
"Emailing about the program, of course, not for anything else!" He joked. He'd made a joke! Strange.
"Yes, I was interested in his research," I acknowledged the questioning eyes. I finished my introduction. This guy was an interesting one. But he knows his stuff. And he knew me. He seemed glad I'd finally made it, when we spoke afterwards. I'm in the right place.

***Because my mom wanted this photo....first day of school.

***My friend Sebastian said I should take a photo by the books, I'd look more intellectual.


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