"You were supposed to be here at five to ten!" The principal said to me sternly. I, chagrined, could not stop looking at his funky tie. If I went by the 'three strikes and you're out' policy, this would be my first strike.
Scanning for the correct tutor group on the list, I almost did not notice him holding up the streak of purple in my hair as he said in a nettled tone, "And what is this in your hair, young lady?" Strike two. "I will get rid of that by tomorrow." I managed to only mumble; feeling lucky that he wasn't facing me at that moment or he would have seen my panic-stricken face.
I made my way to the tutor group, feeling more than just slightly uncomfortable. As if being a new student at a huge, prestigious school doesn't put you out of your comfort zone enough, the series of events in the past few minutes threw me far away from the comfort zone into unchartered territory.
I rushed past various unfamiliar faces and made my way to my tutor group table. The teacher smiled at me and seemed welcoming. The entire table had a warm vibe to it and I finally started to feel nice about being there.
The speaker was full of energy and almost every sentence that came out of his mouth was worth being on a tapestry. I was extremely interested in what he was saying and all was going well until he asked, "So, how many of you have your cellphones in your pocket right now? Please stand up." Suddenly, lying didn't seem like such a bad idea but my conscience got the better of me as I found myself to be one of the first on my feet, thinking to myself, "Strike three..."
I spent a lot of the session hoping that the principal had not formed too bad an impression of me. Soon there was a short break and I followed the other students to the cafeteria, unfamiliar with the way. Nothing was what I was used to. Be it the humongous campus, teachers, students or even the drinking fountains; it was all different. It felt like a life upgrade.
Following the break we collectively evaluated the attributes of the IB learner's profile where each table made a consensus definition of one of the attributes and found out how close it was to the that of the IB. Feeling courageous, I volunteered to be the leader of the table and managed to keep my cool and express myself well when asked to speak up in front of the class. That was when my day evolved from not-so-good to great.
I regained my usual confidence, heartily participated in all the other assignments and made new friends. Just in a day, the school managed to make me recognise that comfort zones are unnecessary and that the 'three-strike' policy doesn't work in practicality. The shell had finally broken.