Anatole France once said, “Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” And I was always encouraged by my teachers, family and friends to do better, to strive for and achieve excellence in everything I did. Sports, studies, extra activities, I can rarely remember a time when I did get not the encouragement I needed to do my best, but all of that was because they were my teachers, my family and my friends who have known me for a very long time.

“Time, it flies over us but leaves its shadow behind.” said Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s surprising how I remember these quotes so easily now maybe because it’s time to leave. Leave my old school, teachers and friends behind. I take with me the memories of the times we planned and executed plans to perfection to fool a friend and then scream out ‘Mischief Managed’, the memories of my teachers and their classes, the school canteen and classrooms which were our favourite playgrounds during monsoons and countless others.

I carry all of these with me, as I leave for a new school today. The change came suddenly with a shift in the residential location. I was told that I would have to change my school too. This school was as good as my previous school maybe even better. It has a lot of extra-activities and huge playgrounds, outstanding teaching methods and much more but it would not have my old friends or teachers, the people who know who I truly am. Everything and everyone would be new there just like I would be new to them.

So while listening to Taylor Swift, singing that morning “This is a new year, a new beginning , things will change.” I started getting ready for school and for a new academic year to begin. As I entered the school gates I realised how different everything was, the campus was huge and there was a flurry of activity as students were entering and trying to locate their class. While I stood looking at people around me and absorbing the atmosphere. A teacher walked up to me and asked my name. I told her my name and explained I was looking for my class and she smiled and told me not to worry as she would help me out. At that moment, I was reminded of my old teachers who were always happy to help us, when we needed it. Walking up to my class I started to think maybe this school would also be similar.

Once in class I noticed that apart from me, there were only two other students who were new. I got a little worried, as I did not have any friends here but the others seemed to be laughing and sharing stories about their holidays and the past year. While I settled in my seat and started looking for a place to keep my books, a student sitting next to me tapped me on my shoulder and introduced himself along with his friends and said, “We keep our books in lockers, you can pick yours too. We will help you arrange them.”

With a look of relief I stood up and went along with them. As we arranged my books, they told me everything about the school, teachers and themselves. As we shared nick names and I swapped stories of my old school with them, I did not even realise when I had finished arranging my locker and was back at my seat. While standing in class for the morning prayers I realised that I had already started to make friends in the new school.

The day progressed at its normal speed but by the end of the day there was one thing which had become very clear, that although the location of the school was different it was still school. Friends were new but the mischief remained same, teachers though different had the same passion for teaching, love and care for students was constant everywhere. It did not matter where I came from, all that mattered was that I was now a part of their family– a family which every child becomes a part of the day they don their school uniform, creating a special bond between the student and the school, a bond that can only be strengthened by time yet not eroded by distance.