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edu180atl: bella reiss 8.2.11

There are many words to describe one’s first day of high school, many of which have fairly negative connotations. Scary, confusing, and difficult are all words I’ve heard. But to me, the whole experience, although rather scary, confusing and difficult, is just new. Besides being in the new school building itself, there are new people, classes and teachers. Like breaking in a new pair of shoes, getting used to the high school routine will take a while, but I’m sure I can say that completing the first day of my high school career was a great feat of learning that I’ll always remember.

I’ve learned quite a few things today. I’ve learned not to sit at the senior table in the lunch room, I’ve learned to always look where I’m going in the hallway so as not to collide with an upper classman, and I’ve learned that in order to be successful in high school, I probably shouldn’t make a big scene in band class. I realized this morning while waiting for the doors to open that high school isn’t middle school; it’s the real deal. It’s a sea of people and knowledge, and it’s pretty great.

Middle school teachers weren’t lying when they said in high school I wouldn’t be spoon-fed. Already on the first day, I’ve got homework and assignments.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned today, it’s that high school is new, but it’s not really so bad.

About the Author: Bella Reiss is a freshman at Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia. She plays soccer, basketball and bass clarinet. She also likes llamas.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bella, What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing. You made me think about the fact that new things often do feel “scary, confusing or difficult.” But, as you point out, new does not have to mean negative. It’s just something different. It takes a lot of courage to venture into the “new”, but most often the rewards are so very great. I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog and comment along the way to let us know what else you learn along your journey. Happy learning!

    August 2, 2011
  2. Lauri McKain #

    Bella, I am glad you had a first day at DHS. I am proud of you for taking the time to reflect and share your thoughts. I am looking forward to getting to know the class of 2015 over the next four years.

    August 2, 2011
  3. “Like breaking in a new pair of shoes, getting used to the high school routine will take a while, but I’m sure I can say that completing the first day of my high school career was a great feat of learning that I’ll always remember…”

    Bella, I must admit that I re-read this line a number of times. And I’ll continue to think about it as I approach something new or difficult or risky. What wise words!

    Imagine if we did something like this:

    Like breaking in a new pair of shoes, getting used to _____________________ will take a while, but I’m sure I can say that ________________________ was a great feat of learning that I’ll always remember…

    As I look into my own past, I’m grateful that I can fill in the blank with hundreds of instances. As I look to the future and think about the whole idea of *change,* I’ll recall your wise words. If I want to have a future with lots of great feats of learning (and I do want that!), I must learn to accept — no, embrace! — those things that, at the outset, seem scary, confusing, and difficult.

    It’s just like breaking in a new pair of shoes…

    August 2, 2011
  4. Bella,
    This is a great post, and if I can offer one small piece of advice—get to know one faculty member really well each semester. If you make this your goal, you’ll graduate with many faculty who know you very well, can provide you with endless advice and help tremendously in launching you toward your dreams.

    August 3, 2011
  5. Bella:

    I’m excited about many things in your post:
    your clear social and contextual learnings on day one
    your beautiful, engaging writing style
    the image you gave of waiting to enter school
    and, perhaps most important, bass clarinet – that was my instrument, too!

    We’re glad you are at Decatur High School and that you are sharing your best thinking and learning through this project.

    Thomas Van Soelen
    Associate Superintendent, City Schools of Decatur

    August 3, 2011
  6. Stephen G Kennedy #

    Bella, I used to teach a high school senior English elective. I loved it! Bright, creative kids like you. Some I had taught six years before in the sixth grade, so we had a ‘history’ together. The senior year is at the ‘other end’ of what you are entering. But you seem to be someone who will make the very most of every day. I think those senior I taught — now approaching 40 years old!!! — would give you advice: Fear Nothing…Enjoy Everything…Make Friends of Everyone…And Learn Something Valuable Always. Thanks for a wonderful piece of writing. Stephen Kennedy, Head of Trinity School and 8/1/11 Edu180 Guy

    August 6, 2011
  7. Joshua #

    Great job Bella!

    March 20, 2012

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