A niner-no-more remembers his first day at MGCI, one year ago.

Well, the first day of school is over. Everything is good so far. Except at first there was a bit of a problem.

Before we went into our homerooms, we were mobbing the front foyer and exchanging schedules. None of my good friends were in my homeroom. Actually, nobody was in my homeroom. I found one other person who was in my first period class. And I apparently also missed out on the good teacher. I didn’t feel great.

It wasn’t just that it had happened; it was that it happened again. I pretty much hated my classes in grade 9. All my friends were in the other class, together, having fun. I was with the losers.

Eventually though, I got used to it, and realized that my classmates weren’t such bad people after all. But it seemed that I hadn’t learned my lesson.


[divider] It pretty much went downhill from the morning. I heard that my two best friends had all four periods together; I didn’t have any with either of them.  My third period class was filled with a bunch of idiots, one of whom didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘advertising’. My last class was the worst. My homies weren’t in it, but I also happened to be in the one class (out of three) that was taught by the really bad teacher.

I felt bad heading home. I listened to some angry rap music which helped me feel better. But hearing that Jay-Z “balls so hard that mothafuckas want to fine him” wasn’t the permanent solution to my predicament. I thought about it a bit.

I once watched a TED lecture in which the presenter said that the key to happiness was low expectations. He said that in the past he would go to the store, buy the one pair of jeans that was there, and go home satisfied. But it had changed by the time he was making the presentation to the extent that he would go to the store, drown in different colors and styles and cuts (tight cut, thug cut, whatever they’re called), and go home unsatisfied because he didn’t feel that his choice was the best. He couldn’t be; there were too many options.

I understood what he meant, but I didn’t want to live that way. I didn’t want to go into a store expecting to buy a terrible pair of jeans. I didn’t want to prepare for the school year expecting to be in terrible classes with terrible teachers. I couldn’t live expecting life to be terrible. I don’t think it’s normal to do that.

What I realized after getting home was that the true key to happiness is most likely just opening one’s eyes. But it doesn’t mean appreciating the things you’ve gotten used to, like food, water, electricity, a family, education, etc. It means looking differently at the things that you don’t like. Looking at how nice your jeans actually look, and looking at how there are actually some pretty decent people in your class.

Now, opening your eyes isn’t always going to lead to happiness. One day you might open your eyes and see that your brother and parents just died in a car accident. What’s important however, is to make sure you aren’t complaining with your eyes closed.