I begin walking towards the building filled with a mixture of fear and self-doubt. This is my first time, and there is nobody here to help me. I am completely on my own, and the outcome of this visit is entirely in my own hands. The backpack that I carry seems oddly out of place, but nobody seems to pay much attention. Can they see the trepidation on my face? Are they ignoring me out of pity or indifference?

As I get closer, thoughts of turning back manage to bubble up from deep within me. I resist, knowing what I am charged with doing. But my courage wavers, and I let my fears get the best of me. I quickly turn around in an attempt to return to the safety and comfort that the past offers, but that opportunity is no longer available to me. I have to plow forward, knowing that my world is about to change forever.

I enter the building and begin struggling past those who know exactly where to go. I silently resent them for their knowledge as I locate help. I feel completely unprepared, and the look I receive from the staffer seems to confirm it. “Can you direct me to Room 101, please?” I ask hesitantly, hoping for mercy. Surprisingly, she is both helpful and nice. She provides me a map, circles the room, and sends me on my way.

I locate the room and the next portion of my trial begins. I have no idea what to do. I stop and begin to taking in the foreign surroundings. Everything seems new and exciting, yet oddly familiar in some ways. After surviving a minute of embarrassing hesitation, I begin to emulate the actions of others. I scan a bank of lockers, and quickly locate one with the correct nametag pasted to it. I begin unloading the contents of the backpack I carried in. There seems to be no end to number of things that need to be removed, but finally it is empty and can be stashed away in the locker. I begin to fiddle with the placement of things, delaying for as long as possible.

With my options for procrastination exhausted, I finally begin shuffling towards the door. I step inside and see many smiling adults. What can they possibly be so happy about? One of the adults catches my eye and immediately rushes over towards me. She carries with her a Polaroid camera. “What new hell is this?” I ask myself.

I see her mouth begin to move and notice that I begin following her directions without conscious thought. I stand in the designated spot and get my picture taken, immortalizing the moment that I will always remember. I quickly scan the room, trying to determine what to do next. Thankfully she comes to my rescue by pointing out a desk.

As I finish getting my son Carter settled in to his first day of school, I cannot help but wonder if he was anywhere near as nervous as I was?

This is a paper I wrote for my English class four years ago. I was pretty proud at the time of the little twist I put in at the end.