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My First Day of School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Fear started taking over. I was walking into my first school in America. I had traveled a long distance from India in order to join my mother, who had been here for three years, hoping America would help my future. My father decided that I would be better off going to school here, so I enrolled in the local high school in my new town.

I was afraid how I would do. I didn’t know anybody in my classes. On the first day, I went to my second period class after
I had missed my first. I was already confused because in India the teachers switch according to periods while most of the students have the same periods.

With anxiety on one hand and fear on the other, I reached for the door knob, opening it slowly. Everyone’s eyes were on me as I entered the room. Without paying attention to them, I went straight to the teacher and asked if this was the right class. With a soft voice he answered, “Yes.” His voice comforted me a little. He gave me a sheet called Course Requirements, which I would never get in India because we didn’t have anything like that. Then he asked me to choose where I would sit. I chose the seat closest to the door instead of the corner where all of the boys were sitting. I didn’t actually want to pick a seat. In India we had assigned seats, so I never needed to worry about that. I spent the rest of the class taking notes from the image produced by the overhead projector. In Indian schools, we didn’t use the technology we had. We had to take notes as the teacher spoke.

Since it was my first day, I was confused which hallway to use, but I managed to get to my classes without asking anyone. I was very confused about when I would have lunch. It was noon. I went to my next class and the bell rang as I entered. I went through the regular process of asking the teacher if I was in the right class. She said, “It’s still fourth period.”

“But the bell just rang,” I said.

Changing from a gentle tone to a harsher one, she said, “That is the lunch bell.” I apologized. Without another word I headed for the cafeteria. I felt lucky because we didn’t have this in India. Every confusion seemed like an obstacle I had to get through to reach my goal. At the end of the day, I was on my way to the bus which we didn’t have in India either. I spotted my bus and sat down inside happily. I was thinking, Today wasn’t so bad.

As time passed that year, I developed some friendships and started to love my school. I found out that U.S. citizens have many opportunities but not everyone is using them. Some people take them for granted, not realizing that other countries are struggling.

The teachers had a fun way of making hard things so easy that a three-year-old could do them. The teachers in my home country had a more strict way of saying things. We also had much longer school days in India – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. – while in America school was 7:30 to 2:30. The main difference I found in America is the amount I learned each day. In the U.S. schools I learned a lot less material. So, I had more prior knowledge than most of the kids in my class, which gave me an advantage. Because of these educational opportunities I feel I am the luckiest person in the whole world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Saffy96 said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm
Reminds me of my first day at school in a new country. It was the strangest thing!
 
ShiGui said...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 9:35 pm
I felt the same nervous feeling the first day of middle school. I didn't know where all my classes were and some of the other students in the school. As the years went by I started to know where all my classes were and some other students.
 
Aoi อ้อย said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Thank  you to giving us a good essay. It helps me a lot in English class.
 
sam said...
Sept. 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm
I like your first day of school letter.
 
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