“A grown-up is a child with layers on.” ~ Woody Harrelson
Graduating from elementary school meant a lot of things. It was the end of an era. It meant that it was time to move on from childhood, into the murky waters of adolescence. But I wasn’t ready. I’m sure most of us were not. Growing up in a small community outside of a small town, I didn’t want to give up the close-knit group of kids that made up our class. I knew, that the day I started Junior High, everything would change. And it did.
Maybe it was the reason I “forgot” about orientation day. There was to be no class that day in Grade 7. We were supposed to go straight to our soon-to-be-new school for Grade 8-10’s. But I showed up for school that day to find my classroom empty. Imagine my confusion when my teacher asked what I was doing there! I felt a rush of panic as I realized I was left behind. Yup. The big yellow school bus waits for no one. (Not technically true, that big yellow school bus would have to wait for me running after it for years to come).
So what was supposed to be just another day pretending to pay attention in class while actually daydreaming about boys and passing scribbled little notes, became a day of mass confusion sprinkled with fear of the unknown looming, fear of being left behind, of not fitting in to this new school, this new crowd.
My mom drove me to orientation day at MDJS, to… you know, get oriented or something. Of course showing up late for orientation day was actually pretty disorienting, and I would have recurring nightmares about wandering, alone and lost in the halls for many years to come.
Orientation day signaled the end of an era and ushered in the start of a new one: my career as a bus-chaser. So began the next stage of my life. There was just no getting used to this new uber-early routine. I was late every day catching the bus to Junior High and then every day catching it to the next adventure, Senior Secondary. Oh how I missed the days of the leisurely walk to school.
The day I started Junior High, everything did change, and didn’t. Although I was in different surroundings, had new friends and peers, new challenges and learning experiences, I was still the same skinny, awkward shy girl from my elementary school days. As the saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same.
And though there was no orientation day for crossing the bridge from adolescence to adulthood, I still somehow can’t help but feel…left behind. Like, I’m still chasing that bus, and I have no idea where it will take me when I catch it.