When teens of all grades envision senior year, they don't think of classrooms or homework. They think of being around the friends they've gathered, laughing at inside jokes and just having a blast.
For me, senior year was walking into rooms full of people I didn't know.
As a junior, I really looked forward to senior year, because in my tiny old school, senior year was something everyone looked forward to. It was the last year you could spend with your friends before you all split for different colleges in different states; it was the last year you could be around people you'd grown extremely close to, after enduring your preteen and teen years together. My old school had students that, like me, had gone there since kindergarten -- I'd practically grown up with these kids.
All my senior year hopes were dashed when, last summer, my parents made the decision to transfer me to NUAMES from Christian Heritage High School. I didn't choose to go to a new school my senior year, much like Lexie Martinez, a "new" senior who goes to St. Joseph High School after moving here from California. "I was forced to," Martinez says, "but I was definitely open-minded about the opportunity."
Unfortunately, I hadn't shared her attitude. For me, NUAMES was a 15-minute drive, yet Christian Heritage was only 3 minutes away. NUAMES was unfamiliar, Christian Heritage was familiar. At NUAMES, I knew virtually no one -- and the people I did know, weren't around: They were taking college classes at Weber University. I saw no reason to change schools.
For me, my first few days -- and weeks -- were odd, an almost cold endeavor. I was so used to going to school and seeing people I knew, yet now all I saw, for the most part, were unfamiliar faces.
Martinez agrees, saying, "All my friends told me the very worst thing about going to a new school is the first two weeks, and they were right! Both academically and socially ... of course everyone was friendly, but it was still hard to feel completely comfortable."
Yet for me it was just the first month that was awkward. Although I had the mind set that it would be near impossible to break into already-set senior cliques, I eventually met people and made friends.
"I already had in mind that it wasn't going to be the easiest to make friends because the seniors had gone to school for years, and that they wouldn't want to 'welcome' the new kid, but I was totally wrong!" Martinez says.
Looking back on those past few months of being a "new" senior, though, I can see the benefits outweigh the setbacks. Before transferring, I was still a shy person. After transferring, I've become a lot less shy, a little more comfortable with myself.
Martinez also says, "I have made friends that changed my life. I am so grateful for them, and I love them so much!"
My experience is pretty much the same: I've been able to meet so many new, awesome people. I've never been truly able to appreciate how different and hilarious people are, having gone to the same small school since kindergarten, pretty much knowing who everyone is. The diversity at my new campus is awesome.
All in all, although I sometimes still miss my old school, I'm glad I made the switch. Going to NUAMES as a senior was (and sometimes still is) a challenge, but I've overcome the hardest part: just going there in the first place. I can't wait to finish the rest of my senior year.
Charlie Anderson is a "new" senior at NUAMES. She loves fall, French and random facts. Did you know elephants can't jump? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.