2011, there I was, in the school cafeteria, confused, looking around to find my friends from K1 and K2. Around me, there were a lot of kids, many of them were crying and standing alongside their mom. It was the first day of first grade, a moment I had dreaded since I was in preschool. I remember walking up to a girl and asking her to be my friend. We stuck together and tried finding someone to help us. She was my first ever best friend. It was so easy to make new friends then, and when we all got to class, met my teacher and other classmates, I realized that maybe first grade wasn’t so bad. I actually enjoyed first grade a lot, it was fun and the rest of elementary felt the same way. Throughout first through fifth grade, it was pretty much the same, each year more exciting than the previous. I had many friends, school was easy, my teachers were all so great, I knew practically everyone there. By the time I graduated I had realized so much. As we walked on stage to receive our diplomas, I cried, I really loved my school and the environment, change hadn’t been bad. I had been apprehensive at the start of this new journey, but it had been the best change of my life.
It was early 2016. As I got on the bus, got off, walked to my new school, I felt my palms sweating. My heart was at 200 beats per minute. It was even worse when I found myself in front of the school. I opened the bright blue dark doors, not knowing where to go. “ Follow the stairs on the right and then go to the second floor where you’ll see double doors, walk straight and you’ll be in the right place,” a tall lady with a nice grey suit said. Honestly, at that moment, my mind was blank so I just nodded and started walking, having no clue as to where I should go. I finally managed to get to the right place which was “the pod” as they called it. Apart from the people I saw sitting on the floor and the loud chatter, the first thing I noticed was many familiar faces. There were a lot of kids from my old school, which made me feel so relieved. That was until we got put into our classes and there were barely any kids I knew. My closest friend at the time was in my class, which made me feel very glad. For the first 2 weeks, I hated it. It was so different from what elementary school had been. Despite the ups and downs of my first year of middle school, in a blink of an eye, middle school was over. Unlike elementary, each year did not get more exciting but instead each year I got more familiar with the environment and started to feel comfortable. By eighth grade graduation, I was sad I was moving on to a new chapter. I met my best friend there, loved all my teachers, loved being on the dance team and overall I loved being there. The change was both good and bad at some point, now that I was older I realized how different change would start to feel. School would only get harder, friends would not be as easy to make, and most importantly, I would change. I would have to become more independent and take on more responsibilities. I knew change would be different now, but I also knew it was still all about adjusting to it and that’s what I had to do next.
2019 came faster than I would’ve liked it too, this meant I would now be starting High school. I was not stoked at all for this new beginning, I had been more nervous than ever and felt extremely overwhelmed. This was the real deal, and these four years would be the most important years of my life. My first day was honestly the worst first day anyone could have. To start, I didn’t even know how to get to the school and when I got there, I didn’t know what floor I was supposed to be on, couldn’t find my locker, couldn’t open my locker, and couldn’t find any of my classes. “You better find your classes”, “ girl open your locker, it’s not that hard”, “ just ask for help”. These were all things that were running through my head, and I felt so embarrassed. It was the literal worst. The worst was I didn’t even know anyone. I only had one friend there which was great but we didn’t have any classes together. This experience was very different for me because I only got to experience about five months of high school due to COVID but for the time I was there, for the most part, I did not enjoy it. The academic part had gotten very challenging and it was extremely stressful. But being in a new neighborhood, in a school that I didn’t even know where the main office was, in a place I didn’t know anyone and didn’t feel comfortable in was just awful. I didn’t care how hard school was, that I knew I could manage, but I wanted to be able to like the new environment I was in. Five months went by, even though I still didn’t figure out where the main office was. I found my way to my classes, met new people, liked my teachers, and figured out the locker stuff. I saw myself slowly starting to adapt but in all honesty, I still didn’t like it. When we went into lockdown, I was glad because this meant I didn’t have to be in school. But, I realize, I need to allow myself to continue to adjust and experience change. I just need to allow for more openness, just as I did before, and continue to move forward. From here on, going through change will be a constant factor in my life and after all, it’s not always so bad to experience new things.