First Day Jitters: The First Day of Freshman Year

“The days after my first day of school are what made, and are still making, my experience at Allderdice special.”


(Francesca Fello)

Pittsburgh Allderdice High School.

The idea of your first day of high school is very daunting. It is a day that most students wait for with much anticipation. As it started getting closer to my first day of freshman year, one would think I became more and more nervous. However, I felt confident. I imagined that it would be easy, knowing that I had several friends that I had met through extracurricular activities. Looking back at it, it was naive of me to think it would be that simple. 

My confidence finally let up during freshman orientation, the day before school began. There, all the freshman families were welcomed to come and look around Allderdice. We had the opportunity to walk around, see the classrooms, and map out our schedule before there would be a thousand students in the halls the next day. I do not remember much from that day except a pit of my stomach that grew and grew with each hallway I entered. As I was falling asleep that night, I had a feeling that everyone else was prepared, and I was going to walk into a new school all alone. 

The next day as my alarm went off at 6:00 AM sharp. I woke up to realize that the sickening feeling had not gone away. I attempted to put on a brave face, reminding myself that confidence is key, but my facade slowly faded the closer the car got to school. I felt so little staring up at the massive building. I got to the metal detectors where I realized that I was supposed to unzip my backpack and get in line. Then, the journey of navigating began. The first period was the most stressful. Of course, I was the first one in the room. Then, second period rolled around and it involved the first-floor annex which only added to my anxiety.  I remember thinking that there was no way I would make it through the whole day.

I shuffled through the halls, trying to walk quickly and not bump into anyone. I remember looking up at some seniors and feeling like they towered over me (that part has not changed—I just got more used to it). Coming from a school with thirty kids to a grade to what felt like three-thousand kids in a hallway is a great change. As the day went on, I met my teachers, recognized some faces, and began to feel more comfortable. Not the kind of comfort where I was speaking in class yet, but the type of comfort where I could sit down in class without a severe pit in my stomach. The periods continued, and soon the bell was ringing for dismissal. 

Looking back at that day, it was such a simple experience. Nothing big happened. I did not have a horrifying first day of school experience, but I also did not have an amazing day. My day was somewhere in between. I would even go so far as to say that it was just a boring day at school. A the time, I did not exactly know what that meant. However, looking back now, I know that it paved a way for me to get through my first weeks of freshman year comfortably. 

Now, I walk through the hallways and see many familiar faces, and smile. I can talk in class without my heart racing. I can walk in the halls without the fear of getting stepped on by a senior.  To all of the incoming freshmen, all I know is that your first day of high school does not have to be incredible. It is the subsequent days that make a high school experience. The days after my first day of school are what made, and are still making, my experience at Allderdice special. The first day of school just eased me into it.

And, most importantly, I finally figured out the first-floor annex.