The Long Day

January 18, 2011
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“Here they come,” I thought to myself as the new freshmen began to fill the old gym. I had watched the tangerine sun rise over Phoenix much earlier that morning as I pushed myself to finish the last of the summer homework which I had procrastinated on doing. I had been doing my homework for the past couple days, and I hadn’t slept a wink; I didn’t have time to. Even worse, I had signed up for LINK Crew, a club at my school that helps lead freshmen through their first year of high-school, and I was supposed to be excited and high-energy to get the freshmen amped for their special first day. This was going to be a long day.



After greeting the new students, we found out who our link groups were really composed of. My group was composed of around a dozen young teenagers, none of whom I had ever seen before in my life. Wonderful. We proceeded to play some large group games with the entire freshman class, and then we split off into our individual groups. I wasn’t the only leader in my group; Leslie was there to help deal with the unwilling freshmen. We headed to the auditorium, where we were assigned to go.

Once we arrived, we played a few games which I droned through. I felt as if the energy drink I had purchased earlier that morning was already wearing off.. Some of the freshmen were visibly unhappy to be there, and I recognized that if they began to complain, it would spread like wildfire. So I decided that we should ask the freshmen what they would like to do after the next game. I received all sorts of answers, “go to sleep,” “go home,” “go to lunch,” but one of them got me thinking. One girl had mentioned, “Something fun?” I asked myself what I would want to do on my first day of school, and I came to a conclusion. We were going to have a tape-ball fight. We were supplied tape balls in our LINK kits, and I asked a group that was nearby to borrow some of theirs. It was every man for himself as we dipped, darted, and dove through the theatre seats which lined the room. The game didn’t last too long, but it was intense. Everyone was panting and laughing; it was a great idea, indeed.

Next on the agenda was lunch. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, just a few more hours. However, somehow in the hustle and bustle of lunch, our only foreign student, who spoke no English, managed to disappear. This was a problem; we were supposed to keep track of our students for eight hours, and we managed to lose the one who didn’t even speak English. Thinking quickly, Leslie went to pursue our quiet wanderer while I took the rest of the group back to the auditorium. When we reentered the auditorium, I decided that I would answer any questions the freshmen had about high-school. Some of the questions were vague, like, “is the lunch always this bad?” and “what time do we get out?” But, again, there was a serious question, “what do you think we should know about high-school.” I didn’t want to give the simple, cliché, answer explaining about how they needed to do their homework and get involved to have fun. I explained that, while it is important to get involved and do your homework, they have a few more important things to keep in mind. I explained to them that, unlike in grade-school, you can really mess up your life if you don’t take high-school seriously. I explained that they were in a position of high privileges and low responsibilities, and that they needed to maintain their focus. I added that illegal drugs would become readily available to them, and that they would have to make the decision for themselves to remain above the influence. I also told them that they had to have a great time in high school, because if they didn’t they would look back and regret it for their entire lives. By the time I had finished my little speech, I noticed that most, if not all, of them had their eyes glued to me. No one was talking; they were actually listening to me. That is when I realized that they were going to take some important information from that day. I made a difference! I couldn’t believe it, let alone after being awake for over 40 hours.

Shortly thereafter, the principal came waltzing in with Chin. Leslie had come back empty-handed part-way through my speech. The rest of the day was a fight to stay awake. We played a few more games, which were boring, I have to admit. We gave a campus tour, and, finally, we returned to the old gym where the principal and a handful of other teachers gave speeches to the freshman class. When they were finished, the bell rang to dismiss us. I made no hesitation to get to my Jeep as fast as my dead feet would take me. I made my way home in a blur, and went to bed as soon as I got home; at 2:50 in the afternoon. It was over.





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