Endings and beginnings

Graduating high school will bring uncertainty; trust that you’re ready

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Madison Geering

As senior Madison Geering embarked on her first days of work, she remembered what it feels like to be new at something. As she graduates high school, she prepares herself to experience many new beginnings.

There was a pounding in my head that drowned out the noise of the crowded restaurant. Laughing customers and clinking silverware faded into white noise as I attempted to understand the environment from a different perspective.

As I repeated the table numbers under my breath in a hurried effort to memorize the restaurant’s layout, I struggled to follow my mentor, who I was shadowing on my first day of training. Almost bumping into the servers dutifully rushing in and out of the kitchen, I muttered self-conscious apologies that were quickly lost in the bustle of the dinnertime rush.

There was so much new information to process—where extra supplies were located, the names of my new coworkers, a diverse and expansive menu—and it was safe to say that I was overwhelmed. Every time I messed up, it felt mortifying, but not because of my mentor’s reaction; she was patient, understanding and knowledgeable. I was mortified because I felt so inadequate.

I felt like I was being thrown into the deep end of a strange and dangerous new sea. And all of a sudden, I was once again the timid freshman girl in the back of the classroom.

It was my first day of something, and I hadn’t had one of those in a while.

I had gotten so used to everything about high school: all of the events on my Speech & Debate team, grammar rules from working on the Crusader and endless memorized equations. With the passage of time, I forgot about what it felt like to be utterly, unavoidably new at something.

I forgot what it felt like to fumble over myself, and remembering that feeling scared me into believing that I could not adjust to this new challenge.

I went home after that first day feeling humbled and slightly embarrassed. There is so much work and effort that goes into putting together a memorable restaurant experience. Before that night, I didn’t truly appreciate the work that a restaurant crew puts in.

However, it wasn’t until my first day of work that I realized that I am going to feel like a novice a lot in these next couple of years.”

— Madison Geering

I just didn’t know how I was going to adapt to a role requiring so much knowledge and experience that I had never had.

Driving to my second day of training, however, I took a look at myself in the visor mirror and decided that I would take this challenge in stride. If I could get through my first speech tournament, my first newspaper cycle and my first day of Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus, then I could get through this.

Success isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s something that you have to work for everyday, even when it feels unattainable.

So I strode into work and did my best. Yes, I forgot some of the table numbers, but I learned some of my coworkers’ names. Stumbling through mistakes was hard and embarrassing at times, but I reminded myself that everyone has first days

No one is perfect on their first try.

The next day of training, I knew the table numbers well enough to seat a few guests. I got acclimated to the flow of the restaurant and began to grow comfortable with the different responsibilities that I would take on.

At the end of the day, I felt really goodbetter than I had in a while. I felt the satisfaction that comes when you accomplish something you thought to be impossible.

And I was ready to keep proving myself wrong.

As a graduating senior, I knew that adult life would present plenty of new challenges that I would have to face. However, it wasn’t until my first day of work that I realized that I am going to feel like a novice a lot in these next couple of years.

But that doesn’t mean that I should ever stop trying.