My First Day in BHS

Asha Tompkins, Staff Writer

The first moment I stepped into Biddeford High School, I realized that it smelled like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and deodorant. Soup, because there was a weird smell wafting into the hall from the cafeteria; deodorant, because I accidentally ran into the arm of a guidance counselor who was trying to get inside the office.

That morning was quite different from my usual routine. Normally, I sit down at my desk at 9 am, holding a bowl of reheated leftovers. I open my laptop, pull out my 12,000 pound pile of textbooks, a pen, a notebook, and do my schoolwork in the comfort of my bedroom.

That’s right. I like to eat dinner for breakfast.

Also, I’m homeschooled.

Before you start assuming stuff, let me clear up a few things:

  • No, I don’t do school in my pajamas.
  • No, my mom doesn’t teach me, I take online classes.
  • Contrary to popular belief: I’m not shy and unsociable. In my case, I prefer to listen to other people talking because I write novels and I like to use diverse speech styles for each character so I analyze slang and blah, blah, blah.
  • When you think about it, if my mom talks to herself, it’s a PTA meeting.

The first thing I did that day was stalk into guidance and ask for guidance.


A very nice teacher directed me to Mrs. Pendergrass’s room, where I was informed that I was 40 minutes early and lunch was going down, so I was told to sign in to the media center for the rest of my life to wait for the Journalism class to start.

I wrote my name on the attendance-paper-thing and sat down in a chair.

I sat.

I sat and I sat and I sat.

After about 12 seconds in a media center chair, I felt that I was losing brain cells, so I peaced-out.

I should have stayed in that dumb chair.

But no. Instead, I speed-walked down every hall in Biddeford high school.

Soon, I realized that I wasn’t as in shape as I thought.

I began to lose feeling in my lungs as they screamed: if you keep going we will die on purpose.

My legs stopped working at the end of a stairwell and it finally dawned on me that I was lost. By some miracle, the heavens looked with favor upon me at that moment, because a friend happened to be walking down those stairs.

He just stared at me in confusion, as if wondering why my homeschooled-self would be leaning against the window, looking distraught in a stairwell in high school?

So naturally, he was like, “yo, Asha why are you leaning against the window in this stairwell, looking distraught in this high school when you’re homeschooled?”

I informed him of my calamities and he directed me to the Pendergrass Palace, where I was still like, 15 minutes early, and the only student in there.

Luckily, I was allowed to stay. So I put my binder down on the desk at the very end of the row, closest to the whiteboard, closest to the wall, and (later, I discovered) farthest from where everyone else decided to sit.

I stared down at my phone and scrolled through memes, wondering when I would be able to leave.

“So, do you enjoy writing? Or are you taking the class just because?” Mrs. Pendergrass asked, staring me dead in the eyes while aggressively rearranging desks.

“Ah, yeah, I love writing,” I said, trying to hide my mortified expression, due to the fact that she wasn’t even blinking.

“Oh good! Then you’ll love creative writing.”

Son of a motherless goat, I forgot there’s another class.

“I hope so,” I smiled, and continued to scroll through memes with the lovely white-noise of desks scraping against the floor.

Fast-forward to the class ice-breaker.

It involved the entire journalism class standing in two groups and holding hands. No, it wasn’t kumbaya. It was the loud screeching of students trying to rip each other’s thumbs off.

It was massively multiplayer thumb-war; as if I didn’t get enough exercise already.

After that, a scavenger hunt was in line. The journalism one students had to go out and look for information.

That meant walking through the halls.


I almost went into cardiac arrest.

During our scavenger hunt, I got to know one of my classmates better; she was also the second student I actually talked to that morning. Shoutout to Alex for speaking to me, you’re a peach.

After that, I traveled to creative writing, which, to my lung’s relief was right across the hallway.

As I sat down, the appalling thought smacked me in the face like a brick:

In the winter, I’ll have snow-days.

That’s right. For the first time in my life, I would have to cram for a test. I would have to hand in homework. I would be thankful for weekends and excited for vacation.

“Good afternoon to my wonderful block four!”

As those seven words left Mrs. Tremblay’s mouth, I was able to visualize unicorns and butterflies flying across the room and pouring out of the ceiling. I spent most of the block debating whether or not it was possible for someone to enjoy writing so vehemently. Needless to say, it was apparent to me that no-one knew why they were in that class. It also appeared that 60% of the students just wanted to go home. The kids sitting on my right talked far too much; the kids on the left didn’t talk enough, but it was nice to see a diversity of personalities.

So, I got a taste of what most kids experience every day. It wasn’t necessarily pleasant, but it wasn’t terrible either. My jacket was chicken noodle soup scented, my leg muscles were dead, but I left school happy to go home and eat lunch.

That feeling was quickly annihilated. I live in my school. That means I had to leave school and do more school. It’s a real blast.