INSIGHT: 65th and the Last

By Dr. Terry Macaluso, Head of School

On Wednesday, August 31, I will experience (inclusive of my time as a student, a graduate student instructor and a very long career in independent schools) my 65th First Day of School. It’s both the 65th and the last.

I’m already thinking about what it will be like next year at this time. I’m trained to show up at a school—SOMEWHERE—in late August or early September. I know what the level of nervousness is for everyone—students, faculty, staff—on the night before and the morning of the first day of school. It still happens to me, too.

From my experience, the 4 chief stressors on the first day of school are these:

  1. What if I don’t know anyone?
  2. What if I can’t find a lunch buddy?
  3. What if I raise my hand and I say something that isn’t right?
  4. What if I can’t make it through the whole day because the new shoes hurt too much?

Again, I can tell you that the only thing to worry about from that list is #4. It’s always the shoes. Here’s why.  Half the students arriving on the first day don’t know anyone—problem solved. Nobody wants to eat lunch alone—check. If I can raise my hand AT ALL on the first day—I know I’m going to be fine.

I have no advice about the shoes.

Seriously, first days of school have a long-term purpose in human development. First days of school teach you to be humble; you’re walking into a new community, and you have no idea how you stack up. First days of school make you appreciate friendship; if you walked up to someone you didn’t know and introduced yourself or if someone introduced themselves to you, you know everything is going to be fine. Finally, first days of school teach you that human beings are all the same. We have the same fears, the same anxieties, and the same worries about whether or not we’ll be accepted.

So, Wednesday, when you arrive on campus—be confident in the knowledge that we’re all in the same boat—and that will be true for the entire school year!

Happy 20th Anniversary, Eastside Prep!!