The freshman experience

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I wanted an image of something where you would think it’s daunting in the beginning, but once you get in the middle of things it doesn’t seem quite so bad. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But it has that climbing a mountain thing working for it, which also applies.

Isn’t it funny how things seem more intimidating on that first day but then become less imposing as you become more acquainted with it, whatever “it” happens to be?

This high school seemed huge when I came over a few years earlier for my brother’s orientation. Some classrooms had two doors, so we’d enter through one and out the other on the guided tour. I guess that coupled with the route we took made it seem like the school was bigger than it really was and that it was possible to get lost in it, at least to a sixth-grader. But in reality, the school was one long hall with two small hallways branching off.

Ah, the power of perspective!

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My high school morning routine

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I hated the sound of my alarm clock. It was loud and obtrusive. Getting agitated first thing upon waking is not a good way to start the day. But this one had a soft green shade for checking the time in the dark instead of the bolder red. So I liked that feature. And that’s why I kept using it.

I set the alarm and placed it on my desk, several feet away from my bed. This way I had to physically get out of bed to turn it off. I couldn’t be trusted with the alarm next to my bed. I never could figure out how to properly use the snooze button, but instead would just turn off the alarm. So having it right next to my bed was a risky move and would likely result in me not registering that I turned off the alarm. And I’m sure by now I was responsible for waking myself rather than relying on my parents, so I couldn’t wait for a second or third call from Mom or Dad asking if I was up yet.

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The rowdy school bus

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Our bus never did any two-wheeled turns, but it was crowded.

Last year I read “Sensational Kids” where, among other things, it gives a day in the life of five students, one typical child and four who exhibit different characteristics of sensory processing disorder. The idea is to illustrate how each child encounters similar environments.

One girl had sensory modulation problems, like me, and she was hypersensitive to sounds and light, touch etc.

She was overwhelmed on the bus because of all the loud noise from the other children talking, she didn’t like being crowded on there with extra touching. Basically riding the bus further stressed her out before school even began.

It’s an interesting comparison.
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Two-Face living and after-school meltdowns

Looking back, I am so amazed at my level of awareness to surroundings. I knew being in public meant needing to put forth as much effort to be “good.” I distinctly remember being on my best behavior with relatives visiting, trying to smile and be happy. Once they left, my attitude changed almost instantly. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult to just stay happy.

It’s also why in high school I termed this phenomenon “being two-faced.” I was pleasant, trying to be as easy-going as possible at school and then all the emotions and irritations were let loose at home.

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