Friday, August 18, 2017

Flashback Friday: School Stories

The first week of school brings up a lot of anxious feelings in my little students.

There's that initial worry of making it through the car line on time {which was not helped by this morning's forgotten backpack}. Once you make it over that hurdle, there's focusing on all your teacher's words, staying calm during tests, and trying to navigate a schedule that looks like HTML. Recent discussions about these worries have drummed up many memories for me. Today's post is a Flashback Friday, because I'm about to spin three different tales of my own school-time stress. Gather 'round and cringe, friends:

Story One: College
Let's start with the most recent story {a mere 13 years ago}. I was starting my third year at the University of Central Arkansas and at that point, my minor was Spanish. As my OCD led me to do, I made a dry run before the start of every semester. I needed to know building locations, floor layouts, and the quickest walking paths. I was usually the first person in class and I usually sat on the front row.

On this particular new year, I remember walking into my lower-level Spanish course and planting my backpack beside that coveted center seat. Once the other students filled in around me and the professor took his place, something weird happened. I understood his welcome and directions to speak no English at all, but everything after sounded like a foreign language... literally. I realized this was no cruel trick to ruin my GPA when my name was absent from the class list. I was red as a beet when I raised my hand to own my mistake and slid into a back-row seat next door ten minutes late. Oops.

Side Note: Even though my actual class was much easier, I switched my minor to creative writing that year.

Story Two: High School
I turned 16 in the summer of 2000 and I was fully licensed, ready to roll. My electric blue Mustang was clean as a whistle when I drove toward the first day of my junior year. I parked in the #35 spot on the Hope High School campus and walked in like I owned the place.

Back then the campus was open for lunch, so my best friend and I headed to Dairy Queen. It wasn't far from the school and we knew we could get back in time {my first-day anxiety took McDonald's out of the equation}. After we finished our meals with time to spare, I paused at the stop sign beside our school and cruised on. Notice I said paused? Yes, my friends, I got pulled over for the first time ever... during lunch period... on my first day driving to school... directly in front of campus. I can't recall the shade of red my face wore all afternoon or how many smirking classmates stopped me in the hallway, and I'd really rather not.

Side Note: I only got a verbal warning, but I didn't pull over for a solid minute because I didn't notice the flashing lights.

Story Three: Primary
Let's take it on back to 1992. I was in third grade at the brand-new Hope Primary School, later to be renamed after our 42nd president. I was in Mrs. Hesse's class and I sat on the front row right beside her desk {sensing a theme here?}. One morning she had to step out, and as teachers do, she asked a student to stand up front and take names.

I pulled a book from my backpack {I can only assume Sweet Valley Twins or Baby-Sitters Club} and started reading until I felt eyes. I looked around to find my instinct was right. Everyone was watching me until I turned to the blackboard and saw Jessica in powdery white letters. Rude, right?? My heart sank, my palms puddled up, and I burst into tears. Thankfully many of my allies were in that class with me and rectified the situation when the teacher walked in. Vindication! I don't know why that moment has stuck with me for so long, but there it is, folks.

Side Note: That was not the first time my name made it onto the board. The other times were, however, warranted.

I know these stories aren't super embarrassing, but a lot of the moments that may be deemed mortifying to others {dressing in a kangaroo costume for an entire fifth-grade day or performing a square dance routine at a junior high assembly} were things I chose to do. I think this post has revealed a bit of my character.

Maybe too much?

Did these memories bring up any of your own? If anything, you can share these tales with your kids in the effort of solidarity. Happy Friday, y'all!

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