The first day…

…of school, or work, or life in a new home, a new city, a new country.

Excitement, anticipation, confidence, anxiety, happiness or dread. A jumble of emotions and a head full of questions.

“Will my teachers (or boss or new colleagues or classmates) be nice?”

“Will my classes or work assignments be too hard? Too easy? Fun or boring?”

“Will I fit in, make new friends, be safe and have a chance to succeed?”

And my all-time favorite: “will anyone want to eat lunch with me today or will I have to eat alone?”

We all recall those “first days” at different points in our lives, and the thoughts and feelings associated with them. I’m remembering them vividly this week as the children in our part of the U.S. start back to school, and most of my colleagues and clients are easing out of the final days of summer vacations and gearing up for a busy period and new challenges in their work.

The rhythms of their days are changing, and the new pace can be disorienting, even shocking, at first.

So, I invite you to look around and notice the people in your lives who are having “first day” experiences. Pay attention to them, introduce them to others, help them find their way around their new school or office or city or culture.

Invite them to eat lunch with you.




  1. So true! It doesn’t matter how old you are, “will anyone want to eat lunch with me?” is still the question that repeats itself every first day (and I think it’s universal)!
    Great insight Ann Marie!

  2. It is nice to see it written that somebody else has compassion for those on their first day, they can be the worst. I always could sympathize with new employees while training, the nervousness and intimidation can be brutal. I personally enjoy attempting to make this period less uncomfortable for people; we’ve all been there, more than once.

  3. Shaun Weis says:

    I enjoyed reading The First Day, and realized how many “first days” a person experiences in their lives. I thought of how others made me feel comfortable, which took away the insecurities I had during my first days. I now have a better understanding of the importance of helping someone, who is going through what I have already experienced. Thanks Ann Marie.

  4. Ashlei McPherson says:

    Growing up I went to 11 different schools and after so many “fist days” one would think the anxiety would no longer exist however, it seemed like I was experiencing a first day for the first time.
    A simple hello, or someone offering you to sit next to them does wonders for the stress along with the ones self esteem. There is nothing like the feeling of belonging…priceless!

  5. Nicole, Shaun and Ashlei,
    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your experiences here. I’ve had some “first days” myself recently and am reminded again how nice it is when someone else makes the effort to welcome me and introduce me to others.

  6. After reading your blog, The First Day, it made me think about all the first days I have had. I have been to 9 different schools throughout my childhood and one thing I can remember is dreading all those first days. The feeling of nervousness and all those questions going through my mind. Your blog has made me realize that I never did like first days and neither does anyone else, everyone has them. Saying hi to someone or asking them if they want to sit with you can really help someone get through their first day. Thanks Ann Marie.

  7. Destinee Estavillo says:

    The first day, thinking about it takes me back to my first day of high school. My grandfather, my rock, drove me to school, and I remember pulling up to the front entrance and asking him, “can you come in with me?”. I know doesn’t sound too bad, but I was 14, in my opinion a little too old to ask for an adult chaperon. I just remember all of the emotions you described in your blog, it was so overwhelming. Although I think about it now, I don’t get the same butterflies as an adult, I’m more on the path of just getting the job done, and then the rest shall fall into place. First day jitters has disappeared from me, but recalling other first days from my past will always take me back to those emotions.

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