First the Worst?

By Jessica Huynh, Storyteller for RU Student Life

As a society, we place entirely too much significance on our ‘firsts’. There’s this auric attachment people associate with firsts. First kiss, first love, the first time you have sex… While some of this originates out of curiosity, other times it’s outright questionable and intrusive. I mean, how disturbing is media’s obsession with teen celebrities and their purity ring? Virginity is always talked about in relation to who someone is going lose their virginity to, which in my opinion is A) nobody’s damn business, and B) not necessarily something that should be worded as a “loss.”

We predominately tell young people to lose their virginity to someone special, yet never monitor the “special factor” of their subsequent partners. We pass along half-truths, such as “You will never forget your first love.” We jump at the chance to ask questions in the form of “What was the first time you…?” instead of asking which time was their most memorable or most significant.

Why do we care so much about ‘first’? Perhaps an unpopular opinion, but first is nothing more than a chronological event that has to eventually occur — like putting on a fresh Band-Aid and knowing it will eventually get gunky and gross. Evidently, we will have no choice but to rip it off. By placing so much emphasis on our first experiences, we unconsciously treat its ending as something to mourn. “Time Heals All Wounds.”

But we never rip off a Band-Aid and sob hysterically as we toss it in the trash (okay, well maybe we do, in private). Sometimes you take it off and it’s painless, other times it looks like it got dragged through the rain and back, pulling at your skin as you attempt to rid of it. Sometimes, it even leaves a red mark reminding you of its presence.

First love is a lot like a Band-Aid. And with no reference point of what kind of relationship you want and what kind of relationship you deserve, it’s not unheard of for many people to keep a dirty Band-Aid on for far too long.

Your first kiss is similar, as is the first time you have sex. It all appears so novel and important until you do it more and more and realize that your first kiss was rather sloppy, and there was way too much tongue. And the sex sucked. And their breath was rather bad. And it was a lot more like bumper cars than riding the merry go round.

Your first is scary because it’s exactly that: novel and unfamiliar. So, let’s allow individuals to decide for themselves how much importance they want to give their firsts, rather than spewing ideologies that their first is something that should be cherished.

As you move through university, you will undoubtedly encounter many “first times” in your personal and academic life — and it doesn’t need to be a special moment in your life if you don’t want it to be. Your first year in university is the arguably the hardest. You may find that your grades are not as they were in high school, and that’s perfectly okay. You will eventually develop study habits that work for you. There’s a reason people say “Nobody even looks at your grades in first year” by the time you graduate. Your first interview, your first job, and your first time writing an university exam are all stepping stones for bigger and better things to come. Your first time is the time to learn, grow, and change.

My first kiss, my first time having sex, my first relationship, my first time moving out, and my first time attending university was neither of the things people told me it would be. I seldom look back at my “first” as something fond to keep in the books.

“First the worst?” That’s a first that I can agree with.