Monday, September 2, 2013


In many cities and towns tomorrow will be the first day of the new school year.  For some reason I have been remembering the day before I started my first year of high school.  There were two Chicago suburbs which shared a high school.  One suburb was affluent and white collar while the other was less affluent and blue collar.  There were several thousand students enrolled, and almost 700 of them would be 9th Graders just as I would be.  The mere size of the school was intimidating, and the stories of mistreatment of 9th Grade students by upperclassmen was legendary (thankfully, most of it turned out to be untrue).

Classes lasted about 50 minutes, and then a bell would ring signaling the time for all students to move through the hallways to get to their next classes.  Meeting so many new people, seeing hundreds of faces in the halls between classes, and trying to remember so many names seemed like an overwhelming situation to me.  I decided that the best way for me to cope with all of it would be to just be as friendly as I could be, to be nice to everyone, and to take it one day at a time.  As it turned out I totally loved high school and made many new friends and kept many old ones.

High School was just the first of many new situations in my life.  Marriage, moving to new cities, divorce, beginning a career, and being transferred to different cities several times meant I had to meet new people, learn new faces and names, and establish new friendships while maintaining old ones.

If you are facing a new school, a new job, a new life in a new city or country, I suggest you do what I did on each of my first days and all subsequent ones.


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