A Common Journey
I sent in my application, filling out all the necessary details that same day and before I knew it, a few weeks had passed and it was the morning of my first day in my first school.
Part of the benefits of the school was that they offered loans and a place to stay for people who met certain criteria which was very convenient for me as if it wasn’t for that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Before applying had crossed my mind, I thought I was going to have to get a part time job or something else to keep myself afloat.
They also made it clear that they considered people of all backgrounds, boasting that a high portion of students are from a state school or other educational backgrounds. This quite was advantageous as if they just accepted people from high class schools or even just schools in general, I wouldn’t have stood a chance, having no formal education and all.
I took one last look at the mirror before heading out.
Looking at my appearance it had definitely changed a lot since taking my test as not only did I get that haircut, I was also now dressed smartly in my school uniform which was a simple dark grey blazer, black trousers, white shirt and a purple tie. I had never had a reason to really care about my appearance before but I knew it was important and I certainly didn't want to be judged negatively by other students.
I left my dorm and locked the door behind with my key card.
It was a common theme in my thoughts on how to avoid being viewed negatively by my peers. I had read a lot on the internet about the school dynamic in general and on how to fit in but to be honest there were only very generic answers like ‘just be yourself’.
What I did find though were a lot of negative stories of how school was an awful place for some people because they were bullied for their appearance and such which didn’t fill me with hope either.
For now I planned on holding any judgement until later and to just do what I was comfortable with.
I had made my way to the bottom floor of the building at this point while juggling with these thoughts and swiped my key card through the card reader to leave.
I immediately had to shield my eyes from the blinding sun.
I let out an involuntary sigh and started walking. It was still quite early in the day but it was already very hot which was quite the difference to the week that had just passed.
You could say it was very characteristic of the English weather with how inconsistent the weather has been.
I also heard that english people will complain about the weather whether it’s hot or cold, which was what I was doing now as I remember complaining about it when it was cold as well.
While I walked I started getting a little hot so I loosened my tie. It was my first time wearing it so I had to follow a YouTube tutorial on how to wear it but it was easy enough.
It wasn't such a long walk to the school but it wasn’t too close either as it took about a 25 minute walk. They do have dorms that are very close to the campus but remember I read on their website that it was for the 3rd and 4th year students, or in other words, the university students. I think it’s a rare case for the school to fully endorse living expenses for someone of my age, otherwise they’d have a dorm for 1st and 2nd years as well. But then again that would be questionable to let a load of 16-18 olds live together.
With that thought I suddenly came to a realisation.
I was 16 years of age as well.
Or in other words, I had completely forgotten about my birthday, August 19th.
It wasn’t as if I’d celebrate it but it would’ve been something to acknowledge at least. At 16 you can legally do many things such as live on your own or engage in sexual activity with other people over 16 to name a couple of examples. Both of equal importance of course…
“Well, I’ll suppose I’ll celebrate it next year with all the friends I’ll make”
I said some words of optimism under my breath as the school campus came into eyesight.
The first thing that caught my attention was the tall fencing surrounding the entire campus. I remember reading that the security was quite high so this must be what they meant. I imagine there may be the odd onlooker with it being a famous school where many exceptional people graduate from. Either way I was thankful for it as it was always nice to feel safe.
Beyond the gates I could just make out some of the buildings but there was a large stretch of grass between the fence and the so they were quite far away. However, beyond the buildings I could certainly recognise the psychic training centre from pictures on their website. As one of the main attractions of the school, it looked different from the rest of buildings on campus, as it was made with some sort of black stone sculpted in a dome shape, towering over the blocks of buildings.
I reached the gates and I had to swipe another card I had on a reader and walk past a security guard.
I walked through another smaller gate and took my first step into campus. I stood there for a moment to take it in.
This really was where a new chapter in my life would begin and my past one would end. Although past chapters of your life will always follow you and shape you as a person, having a new start is definitely exciting.
To be honest up until now part of me hadn't even believed I was going to school and that I was going to wake up any second.
It all felt so unreal up until this moment, but this really was happening wasn’t it?
However, drawing my attention to my surroundings, It was not as nearly as bustliing as I thought it’d be but after checking the time on my watch I realised the reason.
My first lesson which was called ‘Form’ was at 9:00am-10am in room A2. But right now the time was only 8:10am so due to my overeagerness, I had a bit of time to kill before school officially started.
I made a note not to leave so early again. I had woken up early and didn’t feel like eating so I figured it would be best to make my way here if I had nothing to do but in future it’d be best to be efficient.
I made my way to the nearest building which was the cafeteria. It was empty so I just sat down and bided my time, staring at the view of the field and school gates that I just came from.
It was a full glass wall so my view wasn’t obstructed at all so I was able to lose myself in though gazing at the nice view.
Time passed and two girls walked into the cafe. We obviously locked eyes as I was the only one in here but they both smiled at me before sitting down. They appeared to be friends so I thought maybe they came from the same school.
Considering it, it could be a good opportunity to talk to them and maybe make some friends. However it was two against one so I decided I wasn't quite ready for that amount of pressure just yet.
I sat around for another minute but came to a realisation
“Oh that’s right.”
I muttered to myself as I went to grab something in my inner blazer pocket.
I had got a new phone courtesy of the school as they said it was necessary for the education.
With this I can keep myself entertained.
I had read that older generations look down on the younger ones for being on their phones all the time which was something I couldn’t really understand. You have a device that lets you access the wealth of all human knowledge, so why is it a such bad thing to use?
Anyway, I started playing a mobile game I had downloaded the other day and did that until the bell rang.
A lot more time passed and the bell rang.
Suddenly there were a lot of sounds of screeching chairs as everyone in the cafeteria got up with myself and headed to their respective building blocks.
Without realising it, the cafeteria had filled up a lot without me paying attention.
I had a map of school on my phone so I knew roughly where I was going. Some students went in other directions but others appeared to be on the same path as me. I wonder if any of these people surrounding me are in my class.
I reached A block which was just a moderately sized building. I entered and I saw doors to 5 classrooms, a study area and a staff room among other things you’d expect in school.
I saw a couple people enter the room I was searching for. Room A2, my new form room.
I stood in the doorway and took a second to collect myself, taking a big breath.
This was my debut. First impressions were important so I made sure I was ready.
I walked in and noticed that there were already a lot of people here, with a lot of them crowded at the front. Seeing someone standing some distance from them I took it as an opportunity to approach them.
She was watching the crowd with a blank expression so I stood next to her for a second watching them as well.
After another moment, I struck up my first conversation with my classmate by acting ignorant of the situation
“Hey, do you know what they’re looking at?” I asked as cheerfully as I could with a probably awkward smile on my face.
She had to turn her head up to look at me as she was on the small side but then her short black swept back again as she turned to the crowd, all without changing her expression.
“They’re looking at the seating plan”
I received the bare bone facts of the situation and nothing more.
“Ohh, I see”
We went silent after that and no other remarks popped in my head. She didn’t appear to want to talk right now so I thought it would be better to not force it.
I instead headed to the front as the crowd was dying down and I wanted to know where I was sitting.
Looking at the plan, it appeared we were sitting in pairs. I searched for my name and saw that Daniel was right at the back of the classroom in the window seat.
I was next to someone called Lucas as well according to the plan. I peeked back at my seat and saw he was already sitting in his seat
He had blonde hair and a round baby face that was looking straight at the crowd.
We locked eyes and his expression turned into a bright smile as he must’ve worked out I was sitting next to him.
He beckoned me over enthusiastically and I obliged.
As I made my way there I planned what I was going to say but before I could execute my plan once I arrived, Lucas took the initiative.
“Ay-up, Daniel right? How are we today?” he asked in a very welcoming manner, extending his hand.
Contrary to his child-like face, a hoarse voice with an accent from not around here came out.
“I’m doing well, thanks. Nice to meet you Lucas.”
I took his hand, making sure to reply with a smile as well. His grip was firm.
I sat down and put my bag under the desk.
He turned to me still with the same wide grin on his face.
“Soooo, you excited eh? New school and everything.”
“It is definitely exciting but a bit daunting at the same time I suppose.” I answered with my true thoughts on the matter
“Yeah mate, I totally get it. It’s quite nerve racking going to a new school isn’t it?”
To be honest I can’t imagine him being nervous given my impression of him so far. It felt like he was in his element with his outgoing personality.
I think he was saying it to make me feel better really.
He’s a nice guy.
I was the one to add on to the conversation next.
“Not too mention it’s going to be a lot of hard work as well”
I’ve heard a few times that it was a competive school so the fact that there was a lot of word was a natural conclusion
“Yeahhh. That’s not something to look forward to. It’s probably gonna be a lot harder compared to my previous school coming from the countryside and all.”
He sank in his chair a bit, putting both arms behind his head.
“Oh so you’re not from around here then?”
“Yeah I come from a little village way up north, the school there was really small as well so they didn’t exactly push you hard or anything.”
I thought it was quite an interesting past so another question popped into my head.
“What made you choose a psychic school? Especially one so far from home.”
“Ah, well, you see no one has ever really been that good with psychic abilities in my village before so when I showed some aptitude in it, everyone started getting excited. All my family and friends really wanted me to apply for a top psychic school… so here I am”
“That’s quite the story”
It sounded nice to have so many people support you.
“Ay what about you Daniel?”
“Me? I never actually went to a school, I was homeschooled”
“Oh that sounds cool, I bet must’ve been nice to be able to lie in every morning”
“…Not exactly, I was up 7am sharp every day.”
I remember being woken up at the same time everyday by my mother. Even after she died I’ve still kept the habit.
“Oh that sucks, that’s earlier than I got up hahaha.”
The atmosphere calmed down and there was a moment of silence but he broke it after a couple seconds.
“I suppose this school is quite the culture shock for the both of us then.”
He looked like he was in thought for a second but then he turned to me as if he was about to say something important with that grin on his face.
“We should be best friends, starting from today.”
It was quite the forward and silly proposition but luckily for him I was in the market to expand my roster of people I would categorise as friends.
“Yeah that sounds good Lucas, let’s be friends.”
We shook hands again, both of us not quite sure where to go with the conversation.
My first friend though. I thought it would take more time but here I was with one before my first lesson even started.
He let out a sigh and sank into his chair again as he scanned the room and then spoke.
“It’s a lot less fancy than I imagined as well. The people seem well grounded.”
“Mhmm, I thought so to”
A group of girls at the front let out a loud laugh which attracted our attention. One of the two girls who was at the cafeteria early was among the group.
“The girls ain’t too bad either” he said, nudging me with his elbow.
I gave an awkward smile to that as although I can’t say I wasn’t interested in girls, I wasn’t about to flaunt it.
Lucas seemed to pick up on that and didn’t make any other comments. He comes across as the outgoing type which may lead you to believe he doesn’t have any tact but I do think he’s quite sensitive to social situations.
From what I read about cliques at schools they must be the popular girls. I read a lot of negative things about that particular clique, like how they would bully other girls or just be mean in general, but like I said earlier, I was entering this school without bias.
A teacher walked in as the second bell rang.
Everyone in the class went to their seats.
The teacher was dressed in pe uniform and was physically fit in his early 30s so I assumed he was a psychic teacher. It wasn’t that you had to be fit, but that there would be no other reason to be wearing gym wear as there was no normal physical education.
He strolled to the front and rustled some things on his desk for a second and looked at the class who were all staring at him.
“Hey guys, I’m Mr Smith and I’ll be your form tutor for the next two years at least. Nice to see a lot of eager faces ready to take on the new school year.”
He paused for a second, glancing over the class. He came across as pretty easy going but also had a hint of seriousness in his delivery.
“You’ll spend all your form time in here but I’ll explain more on all that later. First I want to get to know all of you so why don’t I go through the register here and you guys introduce yourselves with a fun fact one by one.”
I heard a few murmurs go through the crowd but no one objected.
The register should be in alphabetical order and my surname begins with G so I think I’m in the clear to think of something before it’s my turn.
But what should I say?
I don’t really have anything interesting to say about myself.
Being homeschooled does make me unique I suppose but I don’t feel like being pinned as someone different than everyone else.
“Alright then, first up is Lucas. Where’s Lu- Ah there he is at the back”
I guess I’ll listen first and see if I get inspired.
“Hello everyone, my name is Lucas Gilbert and I look-“
I stopped paying attention to his introduction and instead focused on my own problem.
Did he just say Gilbert?
We’re at G already?
I still haven’t thought of anything yet. Why were we not told of this beforehand? No, maybe this is a test, a first of many at such a competitive school. In that case I should face it head on.
I looked at Lucas who was demonstrating what I think was a double jointed elbow.
It gave the class a mixture of laughs and reactions of mild disgust. It was the perfect ice breaker for these introductions. As expected of Lucas.
“Haha, thank you for that, Lucas. Looks like we may have identified the class clown of the class. Now let’s see… Now we have Daniel green.”
As if pulled by a very strong magnetic force everyone turned and looked right at me and away from Lucas.
I could feel for the first time all summer I was sweating, not due to the heat but due to the situation I was put in.
Despite that I stood up and opened my mouth.
“Hello, my name’s Daniel and it's nice to meet you all. As far as something interesting about me the only thing I can think of was the fact that I was homeschooled up until now”
There were a few polite smiles in the class but the majority appeared very disinterested.
“Very nice Daniel, thank you”
I didn't want to advertise the fact that I was homeschooled as I don’t feel like being questioned about it or being different from everyone else like I mentioned but desperate times call for desperate measures. I really didn’t want to blunder my first impression.
I received a thumbs up from my neighbour and honestly, it made me feel a little better.
At least I had my friendship with Lucas to look forward to.