By RIDHI GERA ’23
A crisp, fresh breath of air greeted me as I bolted to my bus with my backpack chafing against the side of my shoulders. Stinky and crowded, the bus was filled with students finding a seat wherever they could fit. As I searched the bus hoping not to be the awkward freshman holding up the driver, a smiling senior moved her backpack onto her lap so I could sit. Wow… so this is HIGH SCHOOL. What’s so great about it anyways? Questions stacked up in my brain as I watched the raindrops trickle down the glass window. Upon arriving at the school, I opened up my camera roll, pulling up my schedule in case I got lost. By now I was pretty familiar with the building on the second day. The bus halted as students got off in conversation with their friends. Lonely, I scrolled through my phone to keep me occupied. Whatever you do, do not acknowledge me! My brother’s final words before leaving the house permeated my thoughts. Apparently to him, upperclassmen talking to freshmen was some kind of sin. However, in reality he was just embarrassed to admit he had a sister roaming the same hallways.
My flowing dress led the way as I approached the front of the school. There I saw a man high fiving students as he encouraged them to have a good day. Oh my god! This is the famous Mr. Ross. I watched my step as I gingerly opened my mouth to let out a grin. My tennis bag swung on my arm as I decided to turn into the narrow hallway near the cafeteria.
“Let’s go,” I heard the security guard yell in a stern voice as the crowd of children rushed to their first period. From the corner of my eye, I saw my brother and his friends stirring conversation about their new teachers. Just then, twinkling eyes met with my eyes as I brought up my hand to gesture hello. A girl from the tennis team had greeted me. She walked with me even though I was an underclassman. “Where’s your first period?” she asked, as I reluctantly handed her the schedule on my phone, “Oh, I go the same way!”
I can’t believe I was so scared of Freshman year, I mused as I daydreamed during my Algebra 2 math class a few months later. The activities fair was so fun, being part of Class of 2023 is amazing, and Diwalit had to be one of the best days of my life. Edison High School had been nothing like the stereotypical Mean Girls, and all my silly fears had been gone. Upperclassmen—except for my brother—had greeted me in the hallways, and I had so many friends from tennis and elsewhere around the school. The kids from other middle schools had been quite friendly, and getting along had only taken a few months. Before we knew it, we were all very close. These three years will probably go by fast, but I know I am in good hands!
Unlocking my used Audi, I wore a pair of sunglasses as I focused on the road ahead. Following familiar roads and pathways, I reached Dunkin right by the school. Ahh, a large coffee— the usual. I was desperate for the caffeine, as I had been working on some college essays. Wow, I thought while driving…. This is my last year of high school. College applications are due, acceptance letters decide my future. Thoughts surged through my brain as I arrived at the front entrance of the school. Senior year. A year from now, I would be in college.
“Hey Mr. Ross, showing that Eagle Pride,” I exclaimed as I gestured at my soccer shirt and offered my fist for the routine bump. The drill was simply to get through the whole school day and drive back home.
The next day, it drizzled. I opened up my Audi, but the engine wouldn’t start. Ugh, I can’t be late to school. . . again! Mom and Dad are busy, and the last thing I want to do is bother them over my car that I was supposed to get the oil changed on two months ago. Wait, can I still catch the bus? Using my backpack to shield me from the rain, I arrived at my neighborhood bus stop to see many underclassmen waiting. Phew, I made it on time. The bus rolled up to the curb as I entered the damp environment. Yes! There is an open two seater. Rising to the seat I put my backpack down so no one would even think about taking the seat next to me.
The rain trickled down the glass window as the door of the bus opened for a new batch of students. All of them found a seat except one girl. Her worried face reminded me of my one freshman year. I was a nervous wreck until I got to experience high school myself and make great memories. The word FEAR looked like it had been tattooed on her face as she walked down the aisle hopelessly, looking for an empty spot. A nostalgic feeling overcame me as I lifted my backpack and offered her a seat near the window. She smiled, but only went back to staring out the window.
The bus ride made me think about the nearly twelve years of school I had been through. It was like collecting all 11 infinity stones, 12th grade being the gauntlet, hoping to snap my fingers and get into my dream college. Soon my teenage years would be over and I would become an adult. I couldn’t believe it. My endgame is approaching!