A thought in honor of “Back to School”. 🙂
With college classes having started two weeks ago, I’m surrounded by new people. Because I’m me, I love meeting those new people! My family is always making comments about how easily I make friends. My worst fear was, admittedly, being unable to find the correct classrooms, rather than my being ambushed with strangers. I guess forming friendships just comes naturally to an extrovert like myself; and yet, there are those occasional awkward situations where I struggle in my attempt to start a conversation or introduce myself. Ever had one of those? Yeah… I was determined not to have those moments on my first day on campus. I walked into my classes, plastering on my facade of confidence, beneath which was buried my thin, but inevitable, layer of uncertainty.
Class number one: English 111. I walked in at 9:20 a.m., ten minutes early, and found a seat that was not in the front, not in the back, but somewhere in between: a happy medium. A few minutes later, another young lady walked in and, spying me, gave a sweet smile and wave. A few moments after I returned the gesture, I realized that she was, in fact, an old friend… Oops! That probably took me longer than it should have to figure out. In my defense, she had gotten taller and was much older than when I had seen her last. She, Emily, wasn’t too offended I suppose, since she sat next to me. Class went smoothly, and already I had a friend in the class that I could discuss it with.
Class number two: World Civilizations. Again, I sat in what I determined to be a pleasant “in-between” of the front and back. I slid my unbelievably heavy back-pack off my shoulder and onto the floor space beside my chair. I took the time following to take in my unfamiliar surroundings; A desk at the front, with a hanging power-point screen as its back-drop, six tables with chairs at them forming a U shape in the middle of the room, and several more forming another U shape around the initial one. This outside one was the one at which I now occupied a space facing the left wall. In the seat next to me was a beautiful and sweet-looking girl of whom my first impression was her incredible likeness to Kiera Knightley. My second was her warm introduction of herself, which was accompanied but an equally warm smile. *Check!* A friend named Milly for World Civilizations.
Class number three: Precalculus. Whoop whoop! You will now be beginning to detect a pattern in my choice of seating, thus I will refrain from discussing it again. To my left was a girl who looked a year or so older than myself, and to my right was a guy who looked very close to her in age. In the ten minutes leading up to class, more and more students poured into the room. It was amusing to see the first-day-of-class bewilderment on so many faces. A student would poke his head into the class, eyebrows scrunched, look around for a few moments in absolute confusion, lean back and check the room number once again-perhaps he had misread it the first time-lean back in, and finally build up the gumption to ask, “Is this Precalculus?” In response to the series of nods and “yes”s, he would then shuffle in and take a seat near the back. After people-watching in silence for a few minutes, I summoned my confidence and asked the quiet girl to my left what her name was. “Amelia,” was her reply. I smiled back, “I’m Alyssa.” Class began and I became increasingly nervous about my future grades, but vowed in my mind to do my best. At 1:20 p.m. we packed up our notebooks, and prepared to leave. One more person to introduce myself to. “Hey, I’m Alyssa.” I said with a friendly air. “I’m Elijah. It’s nice to meet you.” That made two for Precalculus.
As the first weeks pass, I love watching all my classes go from hushed whispers before they begin, to laughter and loud chatting. It’s like watching a turtle coming out of its shell. It starts slowly, but before long it realizes that there’s nothing to be afraid of, so it shows what was hiding inside. “By the same token”, as Instructor Arrington would say, each group of students is beginning to discover who each other truly are. I guess you could say we’re settling in. We’re in that process of transition from acquaintances to friends. If you ever take the time to notice it, the unfolding of friendships is a beautiful thing to observe. Those friendships may last a lifetime!