First Day of School: Expectations vs. Reality

Sometimes, the first day of school is not at all what it's cracked up to be.

You spend hours envisioning how perfectly the day will go, and then when you actually live it, you experience just about every road bump possible.

Take a look at these eight expectation vs. reality scenarios that may hit way too close to home.

First Day Outfit

Cute white and polka dot shirt and skirt next to a spilled cup of coffee

(Photo Credit: Ann Haritonenko & Africa Studio via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You spent hours picking out the perfect outfit at the mall, and you finally found "the one." You strut through your school doors on the first day, and all eyes are on you. You are flawless.

Reality: You spent hours trying to find the perfect outfit, and you settle for something in your closet because you didn't see anything worth buying at the mall. You feel semi-confident walking through the hallways, until…you realize you spilled your morning tea all over your white skirt. Nightmare central. ????

Arriving to School

A red car with a teen girl and a red car with a family in it

(Photo Credit: HTeam & Andrei Chi via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You studied all summer long so you could finally get your driver's permit! You pull up to school in your brand new Mini Cooper, and honestly, you feel like you're on Cloud 9.

Reality: You didn't end up getting your permit, and your mom offers to drive you and the rest of your siblings to your first day of school. In the family mini van.

Finding Your First Class

Girl walking to class and girl stressed in front of her locker

(Photo Credit: Antonio Guillem & Wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You printed out your school's map a week before classes and went down to the campus to find them. You walk in on the first day and confidently find your first class minutes before the school bell rings. So prepared, as always.

Reality: You didn't have time to map out your classes, and when the first school bell rings, you're still at your locker trying to figure out your combination. Your stress level is skyrocketing and you haven't even started your day. Ughh.

Having a Class With Your Bestie

Two best friends hugging and a girl sitting by herself in class

(Photo Credit: Syda Productions & Lakov Filimonov via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You and your bestie are absolutely ecstatic when you find out that you have advanced English together. You walk into class arm in arm and plop down into seats right next to each other. Your teacher announces that you two are partners for all in-class activities. Best. Day. Ever.

Reality: You and your bestie walk into class grinning ear to ear. You think nothing can get you down, until, your teacher announces that there are assigned seats. You and your partner-in-crime are placed at complete opposite ends of the room. At least you can still do hw assignments together.

Seeing Your Crush for the First Time

Teen guy and girl flirting with each other

(Photo Credit: Antonio Guillem via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You've been waiting to see your crush all summer long, and finally the moment has arrived. You spot him in the school courtyard, you make eye contact as he runs his hands through his hair. He comes up to you and asks you what you're doing Friday night. Is this real life?!

Reality: You practically run to school, so excited to see the hottie you've been thinking of all summer long. You spot him in the school courtyard, but wait. He's with another girl? Apparently, he's now dating an incoming freshman. This can't be happening.

Running Into an Enemy

Two girls talking and smiling and two girls fighting and pointing fingers

(Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images & Syda Productions via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You walk through the hallway on the first day of school, and in your heart you believe that the girl who bullied you all last year will have finally realized you don't have to be enemies. You spot her near the lockers, she comes up to you shakes your hand and asks to start over. Dream come true.

Reality: You walk through the hallway, see your enemy and, what do you know, she cracks a joke about your "dorky" outfit. Some things never change, just gotta shake it off.

Your Lunch Break

A healthy prepared lunch, and a granola bar

(Photo Credit: Ekaterina Smirnova via Shutterstock)

Expectation: You wake up the first day of class and you prep a full nutritious lunch in your new lunch box. You're off to a good start.

Reality: You don't know how it's possible, but your alarm clock mysteriously stopped working while you were sleeping and you totally woke up late. No time to make breakfast or prep lunch. You're eating a measly granola bar you found stuffed in your mom's purse.


Four girls at the mall and one girl studying in the library

(Photo Credit: Andresr & Syda Productions via Shutterstock)

Expectation: It's the first day of school, so obvi no teachers assign any homework. They want you to take it easy on your first day back! All you do all day is sign syllabuses, which means hitting the mall with your best girls after school and talking about your perfect classes and teachers. Life couldn't get any better.

Reality: Your teachers might be out to get you. You have three homework assignments and a two page essay about what you want to learn this year. You spend your night in the local library with your brand spanking new textbooks.


Need help managing your expectations about school and preparing yourself for the best day possible? You'll have to test out THESE seven simple rules for having an easier first day of school.