Monday, June 16, 2008

7th Grade (aka Hell)

I was scared to death of going to middle school. Everything seemed so big... the kids, the building, my schedule. My locker was a huge phobia. All those teen movies show the nerdy kids getting shoved into them. I was sure that was going to happen to me. I was afraid somebody would grease my locker and I wouldn't be able to open it. I was afraid I'd forget my combination or keep going past the number I needed and be standing there in the hallway for hours trying to open it... in fact I had actual recurring nightmares for years about that one.

My middle school was so crowded that I could barely move going down the halls. I wasn't very tall at the time and had trouble seeing where I was going, let alone the room numbers, with all the throngs of students that surrounded me.

The first day of school I was nervous, REALLY nervous- the kind of nervous where you can't eat anything because you're sure you'll puke if you do. Corinne was in 9th grade and luckily she was nice enough to find someone to show me where homeroom was the first day. She had no idea how grateful I was. The rest of the day went pretty smoothly as I recall. I was happy to find that our lockers were only about three feet high, making it impossible for me to be shoved into one. I also had a different kind of latch on mine that made it ungreasable. I still had the lingering fear of forgetting my combination, but that never actually happened.

The second day of school didn't go so well. Even though the first day had gone OK, I was still extremely nervous. I had almost made it to my homeroom that morning when they called my name over the intercom to come to the front office. When I finally got there after fighting my way through the crowds, the office lady handed me a finished homework assignment that I had apparently dropped in the hall somewhere. Shortly after leaving the office the tardy bell rang... and the panic set in. I pulled out my map of the school and tried to find my way to homeroom again. I got to the spot where the room was supposed to be according to the map but to my horror, it wasn't there. I began pacing up and down the hall, sweat beading on my forehead, stomach turning. Where was it?! It had to be there somewhere! Finally I got up my nerve and asked a couple girls who were still out in the hall (probably some hooligans who were sure to beat me up) if they knew where the room was. Luckily they took pity on me and didn't point me in the wrong direction. The classroom was right where it was supposed to be, but the door was in the other hallway around the corner. I felt like an idiot. I hurried into class and sat there the entire time dreading the next bell. As the minutes ticked by I felt sicker and sicker. When the bell finally rang I just couldn't take it anymore and went to the office. I told them I didn't feel good and called my mom to come get me.

For the next two days I stayed home sick. I was terrified. I spent two days working myself up even more, sure that terrible things would happen to me if I went to school. I don't know exactly what I was afraid of. I was always the good kid and didn't want to let on that I was anything less than perfect I guess. I was scared of being tardy, I was scared of getting in trouble, I was scared I wouldn't fit in, I was scared of change.

On the third day my mom finally forced me to go back to school. Everything went fine from that day on and I was just the typical nerdy 7th grader. There was something good that came from all that drama. I have never since been nervous or scared about starting a new school or a new job. I know that my worst fears are never rational depictions of what will actually happen. I realized I'm a smart, capable person and that I can do anything just as good or better than the next guy. Worrying about things doesn't help at all and most of the time it is destructive. I can roll with the punches and take things as they come. Change is exciting and I love the mystery it brings.


heidi said...

Wow! I'm almost jealous that you had that experience because of the great lessons you got from it!