By: Aliya Aliya

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The first day of school. For a freshman it’s filled with colorful dreams of freedom and a good grade in expos. But for everyone else, it’s the day you could have slept more during break. It’s the day you meet all your new professors and pick classes. But as the weeks pass on, you’ll be lucky if you even remembered what your professor said on the first day of class.

The most memorable first day of school for me was my first day of my senior year of high school. Senior year for me was the best year in my entire public schooling life. I did absolutely no work, put in minimal effort, made a ton of friends, and got almost straight A’s (except for AP Bio – med school and I were just never meant to be). And even though I enjoyed my senior year to the fullest extent, it didn’t start off the great way it ended. You see, the summer before twelfth grade was when I first started to wear hijab (hmm, you can begin to see where this story is going now…). Before I go into detail with my story, it’s important you know a little bit about where I grew up.

To paint a picture of my school district, you don’t really need much color. The road that my middle school was on had four churches and a bible school, and on the bus on my way to high school, you would pass by three separate Jewish organizations (you don’t even want to try and count the churches). As for the Muslims in my school, well, you could count them on your fingers. And in no way am I complaining about the makeup of my town, I met great people growing up there and for the most part, it’s full of hardworking, lovely people trying to make a living for their families. But whatever. It’s important for the story that you know my town isn’t exactly diverse. Back to my first day of school.

You know that feeling where you’re so nervous you want to throw up? That’s how nervous I was (but to be fair, that happens to me fairly often). But when school finally started, all my classmates were pretty cool about it. And as I exited third period I remembered wondering why I had been so nervous in the first place.

I was with my friend Jackie walking to our next class together, Italian. This class was a joke and basically turned into a study hall for everyone who took it. I’ve had Signora since tenth grade so I knew her pretty well, so it’s not like I didn’t expect a reaction from her, she was just that kind of person. As Jackie and I were walking into class together I saw Signora’s face and gave her a big smile. And I saw her mouth open in shock and scream, “NOOOOO!” with this underlying anger in her voice.

I didn’t know what to say. But luckily I didn’t have to say anything, she went on, “What did you do?! Oh my God, what did you do?!” I was at a loss for words, I felt like I had to apologize to her. I didn’t know what to do so I looked over at Jackie, and she was just as lost as I was, staring at Signora with her mouth wide open. I just walked over to the back of class and sat at a table, Jackie followed me, and so did Signora…laughing. She went on with her diatribe, and I just sat there in silence.

I remained at my table for the rest of the class period, and the day that followed; I didn’t even look at Signora. I was so mad. On Monday she came up to me and said, “I have this old lab partner from college and I went to her house and she wears the head thing like—.” I cut her off,

“Oh yeah? Did you yell at her too?” Took me a couple of days, but I finally managed to say something.
“I didn’t yell at you.” She responded, and looked over at Jackie in support.
“Yeah you did.” Said Jackie.

And that’s when Signora apologized. Sometimes people don’t realize what they’re saying until it’s pointed out to them.

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