Ariel Schroder 2020
My Hero's Journey
Primary school was comfortable. It was the status quo, I knew everyone, it was……. normal. In fact, high school only seemed close when I stepped out of the car on orientation day. I still remember it. My first impression was lots of people.
As I stood, time seemed to slow down, like I was in a timeless bubble. People laughing, not looking at me as if I didn’t exist. They all were laughing, talking, everyone knew each other. I felt out of place. Awkward. As some leaders of the school stood up, and spoke, the school fell quiet for me. Not even the people speaking were making noise to me. Time seemed to drift past. I was walking and talking, but what I was saying and to whom escaped me.
I finally woke up as a clear voice penetrated my bubble. “Welcome, Year 7s”. I looked around and saw people sitting next to me. They all were looking in front of the large auditorium, captured. I looked over and saw the object of their attention. “My name is Mr Sicari, and I am proud to be the principal of Eltham High School”. My memory of this part is unusually faint. I remember my concentration; as if I was a spectator watching myself. I remember the heat and friction of my thinking, as if cogs were grinding together inside my brain.
The next memory I can make out is walking slowly, and sitting down in the classroom, thinking of what was to come of high school.
The next day was as usual; or not quite. I walked to primary school, arrived, said “s’up” to my friends and went to a seat and sat down. Primary school suddenly seemed…………… small. The day passed by slowly. My mind drifted repeatedly and I got told off many times. Primary school was…….. Boring.
I woke up many mornings later. I got into my uniform, brushed my teeth and grabbed my bag. I was heading out the door, when an annoyed voice called out from a bedroom. “It’s the holidays, go to bed”. I stopped. Really? I wasn’t going back to the place I had spent the last 7 years of my life? I sat down thinking. High school was closer than ever. And I was as lonely as ever.
That car ride was the longest ever. It was only a one kilometre drive to high school, but it felt like one thousand. I remember the thoughts; Will I make friends? Will the teachers be strict? Am I the only one feeling like this? I arrived at Eltham High School. Already, I felt the push. The push to slip back into the bubble. For the first time, I fought back. I found my class sign and looked around. There were people, faces, unfamiliar faces. I waited. Eventually, a teacher came, and took us to the classroom. The day went fast from there. But it wasn’t because of the bubble. It was because I had fun.
I came home in a buzz. Suddenly, high school seemed less like a scary, unfamiliar future. It was an exciting adventure.
Things only went down from there. I found myself alone at lunchtimes, afraid everyone was watching me. The library was like a safe haven. I could sit down, and absorb myself into the world of magic, wizards and heroes. This is how I spent all my lunchtimes; until one day. I was sitting down on a bench, when I looked up, and I saw other people sitting down. This might not sound like the most exciting thing, but for me, it was telling me I wasn’t the only one feeling alone. I saw people sitting down, alone. One in particular stood out to me. He was hunched over, his shoulders tight. His head hung down, so his fair hair hung down like a waterfall. I sat down and talked with him.
We chatted, and I saw the relief spread over his face. It was amazing to realise that I was making a friend; perhaps even helping someone feel better. I realised that this would’ve been me, a couple of weeks ago. As the bell rang, and we walked back to class, I realised he was definitely not the only relieved one.
Talking to trusted people or friends is like a tap. Some people have the strength to turn it on. Some don’t. Eventually, the tap fills up, bottles up, it vibrates and………. and it overflows, spills out. When I look back, I am regretful I never had the strength soon enough, and glad I finally found it.