Courage

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Driving up the side of a mountain, on a long windy road, I was headed to my first day of high school. Looking out the car windows, all I could see were dirt, rocks, and what looked like a never-ending stretch of forest. Pine and Oak trees covered the landscape on both sides of the road, they shaded the ground and kept the air cool. The only glimpse of sun I could see were the tiny rays of light that shone down through the tree tops and, every now and then, when I looked under the trees I would see deer or wild turkey roaming around. The car ride felt as if it had gone on for hours, and I had butterflies in my stomach every time I took notice of the fact that it was my first day of ninth grade.

I was a fourteen-year-old who had just graduated eighth grade, with a bunch of classmates whom I had known since the second grade, and on this day I was about to embark on the new adventures of high school. I was on my way to attending a small private school in Watsonville where everyone knew one another, and where I knew no one. Unlike most other high schools, the first day didn’t consist of a normal go-to-all-your-classes-and-meet-your-teachers kind of schedule, but of a rafting trip that involved the entire high school.

During the long car ride, I had been building up my feelings of excitement and nervousness. I kept wondering if it would be easy to make friends, and if I would have fun on the four-day rafting trip. I worried that I would be the only person who didn’t know anyone, and that the rafting trip would consist of awkward conversations of trying to get to know one another. But before I could worry any longer, I had arrived at school.

The front of the school was filled with cars, and parents were helping their children unload sleeping bags and duffle bags full of clothes. My nerves really set in when I saw all the kids, but there was no turning back. I stepped out from the passenger side of the car and observed my surroundings. Just like the sides of the road, the school campus was surrounded by huge trees that seemed to cover everything in shade. The air smelt like dirt and pine, and the breeze was cool as it gently blew against my face. Even though I was surrounded by many people, I could hear nothing but birds singing and felt a sense of tranquility as I stood looking around. The cement school building stood in front of me, and I took a deep breath in, as I tried to build up enough courage to go inside. After a minute, I grabbed my sleeping bag and duffle bag, said bye to my mom, and made my way down a curved walkway to the entrance of the school.

Around the corner of the school I saw a lady with dark curly hair wearing black pants and a white blouse. She directed me to a building where I would leave my belongings and join the rest of the students, as we waited to hear which car we would be assigned to for the trip. I made my way to the room where my fellow classmates were, and hoped for the best as I opened the door. The room was filled with the sound of people talking. As soon as I stepped foot in the room, I was approached by a girl with blonde wavy hair and a friendly smile. She seemed to be full of excitement and asked me questions, such as where I had gone to school and if I was excited for the rafting trip. After making conversation, and becoming acquainted with one another, she introduced me to all of her friends. It didn’t take me long to calm down and realize that there was nothing to worry about. Everyone I talked to was friendly and welcoming, and the more people I got to know the more excited I was to go rafting. The worries that had been running through my head seemed to magically disappear and, before I knew it, once again I was driving away on the windy road headed for another adventure.





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