First-day smile

By Herman M. Lagon

AUGUST 29, the general first day of school for the School Year 2023-2024—a delightful blend of excitement, a dash of anxiety, and a sprinkle of uncertainty, all served on a plate of new backpacks and crisply donned uniforms. Whether you are a kindergartener bubbling with anticipation to showcase your brand-new crayon set or a first-year college student preparing to confront the imminent avalanche of textbooks, that inaugural day is a universal rite of passage.

Recall the days when a box of crayons felt like an endless spectrum of possibilities. The first day of kindergarten is akin to unveiling Pandora’s curiosity box. As these young learners venture into the realm of pencil boxes, alphabet puzzles, and the art of sharing, they are greeted by a bewildering and exhilarating world. Parents take heed—ensuring your little scholars are well-rested is crucial, for staying within the lines of coloring sheets demands creativity and mental acuity.

Advancing to elementary school expands horizons, promising encounters with multiplication tables and the introduction of performance tasks. Here, your backpack transforms into a repository of learning treasures, and your social circle evolves into a network of friendships woven through playground games and secrets exchanged in hushed tones. Each interaction, each lesson, shapes academic knowledge and the building blocks of character.

Junior high enters with the flourish of lockers, puberty’s gentle crescendo, and algebraic equations that appear almost as enigmatic as ancient hieroglyphs. Corridors reverberate with laughter and whispers of rumors as students navigate the maze of classrooms. Amid the academic pursuits, remember that this phase is not just about solving equations but deciphering the complexities of human relationships and personal growth.

With senior high school comes a dash of gravity as you lay the foundation for future aspirations. The inaugural day heralds a build-up of subject complexities and elevated expectations. While grappling with physics equations or the philosophies of man, you are simultaneously deciphering the formula for adulthood–a puzzling blend of responsibility, ambition, and purpose.

The first day of college or graduate school is a unique tapestry woven from independence, accountability, and research threads. You become the conductor of your schedule and the captain of your academic voyage. However, this newfound freedom comes tethered to obligations–from managing laundry to late-night study sessions, from skimming through journals to the infamous group all-nighter that tastes like a blend of coffee and existential contemplation.

Amidst the academic hustle, never underestimate the power of a smile. A seemingly modest gesture often overlooked, a smile serves as a bridge to new connections, whether with a fellow kindergartener, a seasoned professor, or a companion in between. This unspoken language transcends syllabi and textbooks, fostering a sense of camaraderie that breaks through academic boundaries.

The first day of school offers a snapshot of what lies ahead. From kinder’s innocent curiosity to graduate school’s knowledge-creating weltanschauung, each chapter of this formal education interlaces into the grand tapestry of life. So, approach this day with an open heart, a well-rested mind, and a backpack brimming with enthusiasm. The classroom beckons, and the adventure awaits, infused with the spirit of discernment, reflection, grace, and learning beyond the confines of textbooks.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.