My first day at Concord Academy was both unforgettable and a complete blur. I do not have an “I remember it like it was yesterday” story. I remember being dropped off by my parents, the idea of Convocation, even if I do not remember what was said, going off to my first class, lunch, etcetera. I do not remember specific moments or any “little” details, like what I had for lunch, what I learned in my first class, or even who was in most of my classes. Though, I do remember one, which was that I was given a beautiful gift in my schedule: a two-hour lunch block in the middle of the day, on the first day of school. I remember that a couple of my new friends had that same free. Sadly, I also remember studying alone in the library throughout that entire free block, just for a class I ended up dropping. This was not a “little” moment, but I remember it perfectly.
This stands in stark contrast to most of my vivid memories from CA, none of which were “major” moments: going to dinner with friends on a Friday night, catching up with teachers in the hallway, and playing frisbee golf during a free. None of these happened in the classroom, and yet, I have to say that I learned the most from them.
This is not to say that I learned nothing in class: many of my classes were sites of self-discovery and truly had an impact on the way I think. I cannot describe in words how much CA has taught me academically over the last three years, from the way I organize to the way I study, to the way I think about learning and my attitude towards going to class. However, when I ignore that for a second and think about who I was three years ago versus now, I realize that the biggest thing CA taught me was that being a part of a school community means far more than just being a student.
Like I said, in many ways I can barely remember my first day at CA, and the way I remember what I do is entirely different from all of my other CA memories. All my later ones are small and seemingly insignificant, whereas I would challenge you to find a high school moment more mythologized than the “first day.” I could say that I do not need this memory, that I am alright without it, but in all honesty I am not. I wish that I had all of those memories, and I wish that I had made some on that first day. I probably would have, if I had just relaxed a little bit. If this whole article seems like a roundabout way of telling you to just relax, which is in and of itself not the greatest or most sound advice, I would point you to an advertisement for the benefits of laying back and relaxing a little bit, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and one quote in particular: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Similarly, my time at CA has moved by pretty fast. Though I could not tell what happened on my first day, I do remember freshman year. It is not quite a blink of an eye, but, for context, my first finals week feels like maybe a year ago, and in reality it was roughly two years and three months ago. So, in the end, the only advice I have is: stop and look around.