When I first went to high school, I was going to be attending grade nine at Layton-High. My parents and I had just moved to a suburb called Redcliff. We moved because my parents didn’t believe in upgrading their status in a place where they were seen as less fortunate – which was the main reason why we bought a new house somewhere else.

We arrived the day before school opened. The house was a two-story, with six bedrooms, a dining room, two garages, a swimming pool and a high electric fence wall. People in our new neighbourhood seemed to be on a similar status. We had just moved in, started unpacking and trying to turn the house into a home. My father Carl had already applied for me at Layton-High a week before.

Both my parents were excited about moving. I wasn’t excited about it at all, I was nervous about starting again making friends, about the whole thing. Being the only child, I knew I was out numbered. I had a different view on this, I didn’t want to move but I knew they both wouldn’t take me seriously. But now seeing this all happening, I had to try to convince them. I told them I wouldn’t be able to fit in; I wasn’t good with others – meeting new people and stuff. My mother Jenny responded by saying that we had to move. In our old neighbourhood, bad things happened to people who were succeeding in life. That’s why we moved to a neighbourhood with people on a similar standard as ours. That told me that my parents feared the people from back where we used to call home.

My first day at school came, I was a freshman in the school premises but also a new boy in the area. I was terrified! I didn’t know anyone. We were all assigned to our classes, did introductions and began class lessons on the first day. Selena was a girl who was sitting next to me. When the teacher walked out, she started talking, “So your name is Sam, I haven’t seen you around here, are you new?” she said staring.

I was shy. It took me a moment to answer her.

“Yeah, we just moved in 45 Bricks Avenue yesterday.”

After that we talked for a long time, she told me she also lived in the same street. She’d been there for as long as she could remember, she said she would like to meet again after school so she could show me the neighbourhood and other stuff. She seemed nice.

After that class, I was happy that I met someone on my first day! I was surprised that a stranger was nice to me, I wasn’t really used to that happening to me. Break time came, I went to the tuck shop and brought a cheese burger and a can of cool drink. I saw Selena on my way out, I didn’t want to disturb her with her other friends so I went around the school until I found a corner for me to sit in isolation.

A buff, hairy guy approached me quickly and said “Hey you rich spoiled nerd, what have you got here?”

“Hey that’s mine, give it back!” I said.

He responded by knocking me to the ground with one punch. I got up a bit bruised. The jerk took my lunch too! I took an early leave and reported I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t even think about seeing Selena after school. My parents got a call from school about me leaving early, they were concerned. They came rushing home to see what had happened. I told them I was bullied and added why I didn’t want to move in the first place. My father confessed how he had similar experiences in school and he shared how he overcame them. I didn’t know that about my father.

He saw it best that I started karate lessons, only to defend myself and be more socially active to make people like me, so I could have people who had my back. He told me that sometimes life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean you have to give up.

“AHA, but you both also ran away to live here?” I said

“That is different, this is something you can fight.” Dad said.

Thinking about it, he was right. Some people are friendly and I had to overcome my fears and acclimate to new things.

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Tell us: how was your first day at a new school?