Life Lessons We Learned from the First Day of School
Columnist Leigh Newman looks back on the dos and don'ts of that horrible, wonderful first day back in the classroom—and how they apply to us today.
Stride forth with confidence—even if you suspect you're walking down the completely wrong hallway.
In sixth grade, I got lost every day for the first week. The middle-school hallways were numerous and yet disturbingly alike (green carpet, lockers, green carpet, lockers). Add to this: There were eighth-graders watching, sophisticated and detail-oriented eighth-graders who were not going to forget if you burst into tears due to the fact that you could not find your Language Arts class. The trick was either to walk like an eight-grader (saunter) or walk by them in such a blur they did not register you (stride). Being incapable of the former, I chose the latter. It worked very well—so well that I also found out that you can stride right into a closet full of basketballs.
As we get older, we worry less about impressing the cool kids loitering in the corridors of our lives—but the walking style nevertheless remains useful. A recent study at Florida Atlantic University found that those who stride (long steps, arms bouncing) for three minutes felt "significantly happier" than those who shuffled (small steps, slumped shoulders, looking down).