My Last First Day

Left to right: Seniors Elizabeth Ling, Hannah Melville, and Gabby Landry.

Left to right: Seniors Elizabeth Ling, Hannah Melville, and Gabby Landry.

Gabby Landry '18, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On a sunny September morning, a girl in a Montrose School uniform stepped out of her family’s car, waved to her mom, and then nearly got sick on the ground outside.  Nerves had gotten the best of her for what was neither the first nor the last time, and starting at a new school brought them to the forefront.  Thankfully, a few deep breaths dissolved the nausea as quickly as it had come.  She walked up the sidewalk and into her new school.

Little did this girl know, the school that she had started at as a freshman would soon become her home.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this girl is me.  Or, maybe I should say was me.  Because as I look back on the thirteen-year-old girl who was so anxious that first day of freshman year, even I barely recognize her.  

Today marked the “beginning of the end” for me and my fellow classmates of 2018.  It’s a cliche, I know.  But isn’t there a reason that cliches cling to dear life for so long?  We return to them, day by day and year after year, because they give us an easy definition of our current situation.  They offer the comfort of a catch-all phrase to capture our thoughts, our emotions.  But they often become masks that obscure the reality.  When I walked into Montrose for my last first day, it wasn’t just the “beginning of the end,” as we so often hear.  It actually wasn’t really a beginning at all.

My classmates and I have already had our beginnings at Montrose, whether in sixth grade, ninth, or in between.  Our beginning at Montrose started when we first got those acceptance letters in big red envelopes in the mail.  When we first had a genuine conversation with a new friend.  When we, as new students, walked through a line of kilt-clad girls to shake each and every hand.

The thing is, once you have your beginning with the Montrose family, you never have to “begin” again: you are welcomed and accepted as a Montrosian—forever.  We start each new school year by giving our new students and faculty their own special beginning with the handshake tradition.  And then, we pick up where we left off the previous year, waking up our brains to real thinking and learning, striving to improve and set goals for the new year, spreading the energy of Montrose through every smile and interaction we have with our friends, old and new.  

“We press on,” as The Great Gatsby says, drawing strength from the promise of a new school year and all the possibilities that lie ahead.  We start again, rejuvenated from our summer adventures.  And, though we start, the true beginning is far behind us.

Montrosians, remember your beginning.  Although today was my last first day, I refuse to call it the beginning of the end.  It is the continuation—the fortifying of the friendships and relationships that were born at Montrose when we first found our beginning.