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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: First Day of School (06/28/04)

TITLE: Will I have the right shoes? by M Rojas
By Marina Rojas


As I packed the backpack with the new school supplies, I sighed with nervous anticipation of what the first day of school would bring. Would there be new friends waiting there for me? Bullies to shy away from? Mean teachers? Nice teachers?

Would I have the right shoes, the right pants? What would everyone think about me? How could I make it? How was I going to survive the first day of school?

As I stepped up into the bus, my stomach knotted up. I smiled at the bus driver who did not even glance my way. You’re on your own, kid, I thought. I sat down in the first available seat, and stared at the back of the seat in front of me.
Hopefully no one would talk to me. Hopefully no one could see me.

All too soon, the bus ground to a jerking halt. The doors flew open, and I had to get off. Stepping down one…two…three steps, and then—inhale! The air outside seemed to suffocate me with every step closer to the doors of the school.

What if I ran away? What if I took off….would anyone notice? Maybe I could just stay in the restroom all day. Well, that didn’t sound very thrilling. Maybe this school thing wouldn’t be so bad at all. I decided to go for it.

Grabbing hold of the big door at the administration building, I headed for my first classroom. It seemed like the hallway was a million miles long. All I could hear was the click, click of the shoes as they made their way to the classrooms. I could hear a low rumble of conversations, but it was as if I had gone deaf. My hands were sweaty, my heart pounding. I looked up to see the room number. A-101. Oh, no, here I am.

I opened the door, and sat down in the very front seat. Taking a peek behind me, I spotted a fellow sitting two seats down that looked about my age. His salt and pepper hair, with the bifocals assured me that he was at least 40-something. I cleared my throat, and took a deep breath. Yeah, there were some youngsters there, but with the entry of each student, it was becoming clearer and clearer that at 42 years old, I was not the only “older student” in my class. Cool, I thought, I think I may like this ‘going back to college thing’. I bowed my head to pray silently, Lord, help me learn the things you would have me know, so that I may gain wisdom. You told us that if any one should desire wisdom, you would surely give it to them. Thank you, Lord for this chance to go to school. I can't go back, and do it any younger. I don't want to wait any longer. Help my age make no difference in the things I encounter here. Let me touch someone’s life here. Thank you, Lord.’.

I lifted my head just in time. “Pass this syllabus back, please,” my teacher ordered as he handed me a stack of papers, “Class, get out your text books, and let’s get started on your journey through education at an institution of higher learning."

Smiling at the sound of those words, I pulled my book out of my backpack, and glanced down at the student’s shoes sitting next to me. Oh, thank you God! We're wearing the same style!

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/05/04
a woman after my own heart! good read!
Joanne Malley07/05/04
Marina -
I like your writing style! So down to earth and easy to read. Sweet story! :) Keep writing and may God bless your work too!
Mary Elder-Criss07/06/04
Great Story! Guess some fears never leave us, eh? Congrats to you for pursuing your dream and returning to school at 42! ~Mary
Theresa Knight07/06/04
Excellent story! it brings back memories of going back to school at the age of 40.
Sylvia Spielman07/08/04
Marina, I too went back to college in my forties. You described my first day to a tee. There weren't many older students I think because it is a liberal arts university, but I stayed anyway. Many of those kids became really good friends and I think we learned from each other. Well written, Sylvia
Melanie Kerr 07/08/04
I love the twists you put into your story. You think it is one thing and it turns out to be entirely different! Really well written.
Robert Drury07/11/04
Excellent read, flowed like a gentle stream. The only thing more consistant than our fear is His Faithfulness. Perhaps fear is but a small price to pay for the hope and joy that is the opportunity of a new experience, especially one we thought we had already completed! All His Blessings, Mr. Bob.
Linda Germain 07/12/04
You confirm something I believe. Our outsides may grow old, but our insides stay the same. We may have more experience, but we feel the same flutter at 76 that we do at 16 or 6. Must be that our spirits do not age! Wonderful story.
Thomas Tottleben 09/16/04
Marina...I love the way you had me believing you were on your way to your first grade class. What a talent you have! Tom