An Ode to My Last “First Day of School”
by Inside Manila Contributor, August 02, 2019 4:11pm
Art by Ahl Mirambel
If you're anything like me, you probably dread the first day of anything—the first day of school, of practice, of menstruation (who doesn't?). I hate "first days" because it usually entails me having to go on this whole spiel about where I'm from and why I speak and look the way I do. Moreover, I have a mini panic attack every time I have to say my name because there's always at least one person that's going to ask me to repeat myself five times before they get my name half-right.
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I've had a total of sixteen "first day of school" in my life and take it from me, you never get used to the feeling. Putting aside the fact that I always had to go into a five-minute intro spiel about myself, I enjoyed the first days of school because it was my chance to start all over again. I'd let go of the burdens and struggles of the previous year and embark on a whole new journey of all-nighters with friends, study dates in overpriced coffee shops, and deadlines. The first days were also my chance to make new friends and a better first impression—I had to do little me justice after I puked in front of my entire 2nd-grade class during our first day. The first day also happens to be the only carefree day of the whole term. The professors don't usually come in 'til the next week, and we're left with a comfortable transition period from being couch potatoes to students again.
These "first days" marked the beginning of some of the most significant years of my life where I'd quickly shift from strangers to best friends with people that I now comfortably call my ride-or-die. In each of these days, I was a year older and (in my opinion) wiser. I had a different mindset going into each year. I was going through different phases in my life (shoutout to 14-year-old Manisha with her side bangs, excessive nail polish, and eyeliner.)
Fast-forward and I am down to my last "first day of school" ever. It's a bitter-sweet feeling.
It's the last time I'm going to have to take a trip to the local stationery for my school supplies or worry about looking good in my 1x1 picture. It's the last time I'm going to have to worry about my professors being too strict or old-school. It's the last time I'm going to watch my friends, and I transition from fresh faces to quite literally zombies. It's going to be the last time I'll have to sit attentively waiting for my name to be called during roll call or relying on my parents for my baon. The last time I get to collectively freak out and be a part of a community of stressed-out students.
“For the longest time, I was a student, and now I'm left wondering if I know how to be anything else.”
Whenever I used to have a bad day at school, I'd countdown the years till I was free from the shackles of the student life, but now that I'm months away from it, it's daunting.
For the longest time, I was a student, and now I'm left wondering if I know how to be anything else. It's not easy closing a huge chapter of your life and immediately starting a new one, I've wanted this for so long and now that I'm here, I kind of want to time travel back to coloring in class.
I've always had another "first day" to look forward to, another long dreadful year. But now, I'm on the final journey and last push to the finish line.
"This is the youngest that we're ever gonna be. Our time is living in the now." -The Spectacular Now
The little optimist in me understands that this is an end of an era. And although it's the last "first day," it's also the beginning of the rest of my life. I feel like I'm sitting front row and watching all the possibilities unfold before me.
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And as with everything else in my life, I want this phase to end on a positive note by looking at it as an opportunity to do everything I've wanted before it's too late. I want to give my future nostalgic self something memorable to look back on. I certainly don't know what I'll be doing next, but there's a possibility I may never be a student again, so before taking up the title of employee/mother/wife, I want to bask in the role of a student. I haven't started the term yet, so I don't know how the first day is going to be, but I do know that I'm going to be an emotional wreck throughout. But the days following it will be spent trying to make the most of it.
And yes, I’m already claiming it to be my last first day of school.
Written by Manisha Mirchandani for Inside Manila.