I woke up last Tuesday morning ready for the best day of my life. It was no ordinary Tuesday — it was the First Day of Classes! I was ready for the fresh, the new, the exciting. Today, I would do everything for the first time of the year. I smiled at the ceiling for a while before rolling over to grab my phone and check Facebook. That’s when my world crumbled around me.
I tried to deny it. I tried to get the thought out of my head. But every post on my feed confirmed it. This wasn’t my First Day of Classes. It was my Last First Day of Classes.
If I know one thing, it’s that First is good and Last is bad. It should come as no surprise that my morning took a distressing turn. I brushed my teeth for the Last First time of the school year. I wore my Last First-day outfit. I walked toward Grounds for the Last First time.
I was devastated. This was supposed to be a First, to be celebrated. Instead someone had tacked on that cruel L-word and turned this into a day of despair. As long as this was a Last, there was no escaping that looming dread.
I thought back to happier days. Everything up to this point had felt so limitless, so promising. Like the First Last day of school — that sweet June morning when I left kindergarten. And immediately after, the First First day of summer, followed a few months later by the First Last day of summer. And who could forget the First First day of first grade?
From here on out, everything was Last, even the Firsts. Today, the Last First Day of Classes. This weekend, the Last First football game. I thought ahead to the Last Last Day of Classes. I’d never encountered that much last-ness before.
But then it hit me. That was it. I’d never encountered it before. That could only mean one thing– it was actually a first!
I jumped in the air, pumping my arms and whooping and hollering. I had to tell my friends. I had to tell the world. This wasn’t the Last First Day of Classes. It was the First Last First Day of Classes!
I ran down McCormick Road, grabbing every passerby I could. The fourth-years were easy to spot — they shambled with slumped shoulders, grimly nodding at one another and whispering “Happy Last First Day.” I ran to them, grinning wildly, telling them of my discovery, this loophole that could save the day. And when they realized the day wasn’t a last, they, too, burst into ecstasy.
The news spread like wildfire. The Class of 2019 came together like never before. Fourth years streamed onto the Lawn, some laughing, some crying tears of joy. We had another First left in us.
That moment — that sweet, sweet moment — I believe was the happiest of my life. We had snatched a First out of the jaws of a Last. How could I be anything short of ecstatic on a day like this, when, for the first time, I could say it’s the last first day? Moments like these don’t come around often. In fact, only once. And this was it!
But that was it. This was it. I stopped in my tracks as the cold truth of it all sunk in. Yes, it was the First Last First day of classes. But never again could I say it was the first time I could say it was the last first time. I sunk to my knees, silently crying angry, defeated tears. Today was the Last First Last First Day.
People saw me sobbing on the sod, asked what could possibly be wrong, and I had to tell them. A ripple went through the crowd. A dark cloud moved over the sun. And people quietly walked away, perhaps having just been happy for the last time.
Soon it was just me, lying alone in the mud. I was the last one. I chuckled at the thought, then started laughing. The sun came out again. For some reason, I knew it was going to be okay. Maybe I’d learned that fixating on impending endings wasn’t healthy. Maybe I’d learned it was better to just live in the moment and appreciate things for what they were. Maybe, for the first time, I was starting accept my last-ness. But those were just dumb thoughts I had before I realized that if you think about it — like, really think about it — today was actually the First Last First Last First day of classes, so really there was nothing to worry about in the first place.