115: First Day

115: First Day

Nov 13, 1998
Stories of the first day on the job, the first day in a relationship, the first day in school. On the first day, any first day, we're expected to live by the rules and customs of the culture we're entering, but we don't know those rules and customs just yet.
These are stories of people trying to make the transition—and the difficulty of making the transition—in a new place, from outsider to insider.
  • Writer Jack Hitt talks about his daughter Tarpeley's first day in her new school. It was her first "first day" of any kind. The kids at the school put her through a kind of hazing. This often happens at all sorts of first days: in military academies, for doctors-in-training, in street gangs. And why is hazing so common? Hazing is so primal—and intimate. As if the existence of The First Day—the simple presence of an outsider who wants to be an insider—is so profound, so disturbing to any group, that they have to crush you, prove you harmless, before they can bring you in as family. (6 minutes) ChildrenEducationMilestones

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Paint-by-number kit, previously sold in the This American Life store.

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