A "note" to my fifth grade self. Inspired by Note to my sixth grade self
Make sure to wake up early. Don’t miss the bus. When you get on the bus, make sure not sit at the back of the bus. Do not sit near the front either. Sit in the middle where the third and fourth graders mingle. If anyone asks you why not that anyone will, say you get bus sick. It is true anyways.
When the bus arrives at school, make sure to get to off as fast as possible. Try not to drag your feet. You should be happy; it’s the first time you’ll be officially back in American culture in a year. Try to arrive at the gym on time. After all, it’s bad to be late. When you sit down in a line that’s supposed to be your homeroom, try not to show your excitement about how you recognize your fellow classmates from two years ago, they probably don’t recognize you anymore. When the teacher asks for your name, introduce yourself as if you were new.
When you enter your homeroom, try not to spend too much time admiring the English on the walls. Instead, try to find people who may still have some memory of your existence from two years ago and sit with them. If they move, try to move with them without looking like you are following them. If they move again, continue to move with them. Do not move the third time. Instead, act like you don’t care.
When the teacher hands out goodie bags for the first day of school, try not to fight over for your favorite color. They’re all ugly colors anyways. When you open the maroon colored paper bag in your hand, try not to make a big fuss over the fresh smell of Ticonderoga pencils and eraser tops. Not everyone knows how it feels to be deprived of brand new No. 2 yellow pencils for a year and you don’t want your first impression to be an Asian girl who obsesses over the smell of pencils.
When the teacher calls roll, try to memorize each face in your homeroom, not that you don’t know most of them. Try not to show your disgust when your eyes wander over a group of girls in the corner with eye shadow smeared over their faces and thick gloopy mascara messily applied. When the teacher calls your name, make sure to speak loud and clear. Don’t clear your throat like you always do, even if you really feel that you need to. Do not look around afterwards expecting eyes of recognition. Your name is not that special.
When your teacher starts babbling about first day of school issues, try to pay as much attention as possible. Even though it’s all basics, year can be a long time to forget things. Anyways, Chinese and American schools have a lot different policies.
After the long blurb the teacher gives, get out your folders and your pencil case. Arrange them neatly on your desk as you wait for further instructions. Do not try to put anything in your desk yet, you might just need it a few minutes later. When the teacher tells you to label your folders with the words he writes on the board, write them nice and large on the folder. Don’t be afraid of messing up, for god’s sake you’re using a pencil!