I was alone in the hallways being pushed up against random people that I had never seen before in my life. It was as if I was in a mosh pit of some sort. I was more petrified than ever before, shaking with fear and anxiety. As I walked in circles around a random building not knowing what to do, my first instinct was to call for help. I could feel my fingers shriveling up as my eyes began to water. I tried to hold my breath to stop the tears, but that didn’t seem to work. I ran to the bathroom as I struggled to actually make the call. Once my mom finally answered the phone, she helped talk me through it, letting me know what to do and where to go.
My first day of high school was different from most others; actually my whole first year was. I had just transferred schools to a much larger school in a much larger town where I didn’t know a single person, making it quite possibly one of the scariest decisions of my life.
I remember hanging up the phone and sucking it up by taking my moms advice and going to meet my “locker buddy” that the school assigned me, since I didn’t know anyone else. My initiative thought was that the girl I was paired with was also new to the school without any friends either, however I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I met Laurel and we walked to our locker together, we made small talk that went nowhere. After making ourselves at home in our locker, we closed it and she began to walk off. I was confused at first because I thought she would’ve at least asked me to come join her and her group of friends, but all I got was a “I’ll meet you at the locker after school, goodluck”. I was almost paralyzed with horror, not knowing what to do from then on or who to talk to. All around me were groups of friends that had obviously been together for a long time. I was out of place and didn’t know what to do, so I went back to the locker to hide away. I felt as though the kids around me were cornering me into the side lockers, suffocating me with terror, until the pressure finally released as the first bell rang. I scurried off trying to find my way around this new school that was at least five times the size of my former school. The buildings were classified not only by numbers but by letters as well. I wasn’t sure how to read the map and had forgotten where I was completely. Walking around endlessly until I found my first class made it seem like I was in a foreign country with no one around that spoke the same language as I did.
I walked in late to my first class, attracting all eyes to me. There was nowhere to sit so I sat at the back counter, which seemed to happen throughout the rest of the day, which ended in an infinite stream of tears.
It wasn’t until the third day of school that I was able to make a friend. We aided each other in the start to our high school career for the first few months, until the day I met Natalie Martin.
This random girl Natalie had come up to me out of no where, bombarding me with questions about a friend of mine from my old school that she knew; I guess he had told her about me. She was known as one of the popular kids at my school, helping introduce me to all her friends, treating me as if I was a new puppy that she wanted to show off. Throughout the next few months I had still felt slightly out of place but it was getting better. However, even though my social life was beginning to take a turn for the better, my grades were doing the opposite. I was still way too shy to reach out for help when I didn’t understand something. I was scared of coming across as the stupid new girl, resulting in being the weird kid in the class, so I kept my mouth shut and tried my hardest to not get singled out.
Later that year I met a friend that I will hopefully have for the rest of my life. Her name is Maddi Gates and she is one of the strongest and most motivated girls I have ever met. She invited me to hangout with her and her friends the first week we met, helping make me feel more comfortable at school. My grades continued to struggle, but they were getting a little bit better.
As freshman year came to an end, I wasn’t really looking forward to spending most of my summer alone, since I couldn’t hangout with most of my new friends due to how far away from them I lived. To try and cure my loneliness, I somehow convinced my parents to buy me a puppy that I had fallen in love with. It wasn’t until the month after I got her that she passed away. She was the first loved one of mine to pass away and I had never felt such emptiness in myself before, not even on my first day of high school when I had no friends. To add to my loss, exactly one week after her passing I was in my first car crash.
I was sitting in the back seat of my dads Ford Explorer when we came to a stop in down town Saint Helena. The only thing I remember after that was opening my eyes to a hippie-looking woman asking if I was okay. I could hardly breathe and my head felt like someone had just shattered a glass plate over it, however I was only worried about my dad, who was bleeding from head to toe. I almost lost my life and a second loved one that summer.
Going back to school that fall was hard for me, but I got through it with the help of my new friends and Maddi. My grades continued to get slightly better but they still weren’t that good. I begun to realize that I had to do everything I can to step it up because I wanted to try and be the best that I could for my own sake and my family’s.
This sudden strive for greatness gave me the courage to try out for the tennis team my junior year, making varsity. The girls on the team helped me out in every possible way. I became a stronger athlete, very well rounded and motivated student, and a better person with their help and support. The team, my friends, and family helped me push myself to have the self-confidence and motivation that I do now. The two worst years of my life have helped prove that a lot can change a person for the better, and the past should not determine who I am today or will be tomorrow.