If you ask my mother, or pretty much anyone in my family, they’d claim that I was an adult ready to take on the world by the time I was three. Moving around as much as I have, traveling the world, has only accelerated the maturity. Middle school nor high school held much if any interest to me by the time I got there. They’ve always made me feel railroaded and restricted. I’ve never got to really learn and practice the things I am most interested in. A chance to do my own thing. Not nearly to the extent I would have liked anyway. I have always just wanted to skip to the part where I get to learn every about what I want to do. Although, regardless of how mature my outlook and perspective may have been, I still had plenty of growing up to do.
That particular reality became all too apparent as my time in Australia came to a close. My family and I had realized for sometime that it probably wouldn’t be wise for me to finish out my high school there. Mostly because of the complications of being considered a foreign student and lack of scholarship opportunities that would be available to me by graduating as an international student. That and lack of any American high school experience likely would have made college more of difficult challenge. So it was decided that it was in my best interest to move back to the States for my last two years of high school.
After looking into available job assignments, my parents figured they would more than likely end up around either Houston or somewhere in southeast Texas. Houston was a long shot. We knew that the education opportunities where they would be working would consist of small schools with less options. Luckily both sets of grandparents happened to live an hour or so away from Natchitoches, LA where the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts was located. This is one of the best schools in the state. So the choice was pretty obvious as to where I would be going. I applied and was accepted.
At the time, it seemed like the simple, easy, logical decision to make. It would provide me with the best opportunities, right? I missed home, didn’t I? Besides, it would not be any different than all the other times I had moved, I was used to it. This was a no-brainer. So I thought. Turns out it was a lot more complicated than that. Despite myself, I had made a lot of friends in Australia, good friends. Some I had become very close to, like family, without even realizing. The reality of that, and moving to the other side of the world, slammed home soon enough. Suddenly, I had become much less certain about the decision I made without a second thought. Second guessing wasn’t really an option at that point though, too late for that. It was set. I did not realize just how hard it would be, how hard it still is.
Unfortunately, things were not about to get any easier. In retrospect I probably should have been more wary about enrolling in my first American high school. Especially one that was considered on level with introduction college classes, but in which I would also have to live, while my parents remained in Australia. I had enrolled without taking a tour, sitting in on a class, or even going to orientation. Wel,l it wasn’t as if I had the option anyway. Even still, I was in for an…interesting…awakening. After a final night that was sad, beautiful, wonderful, and heart- rending, I was off on the next leg of my journey, back to the U.S. The next great adventure.
In a week’s time I was moved into the dorm and once again the new kid from parts unknown at my tenth school to date. I have considered keeping score, but I figure most military kids still have me beat as far as number of new kid scenarios go. It is probably somewhat of an understatement to say that I wasn’t quite prepared for how big this change actually was. I was confident I could adapt easily just like everywhere else. In reality the massively increased workload and harder courses coupled with having left family and some of the best friends I’d ever had halfway across the world all piled up at once, and hit me harder than I thought it would . To be honest I’m slightly ashamed to say I stumbled, then faltered as it swept my legs out from under me. I was getting the lowest grades I had ever gotten on anything before and felt mentally burned out and exhausted for the first time in my life. It was a rough couple of months to say the least.
Then one day I decided to stop, I was on my own now, and it was time to step up. I had never let anything beat me down before and I was not about to start now. I was and always had been a fighter, and so I fought. I worked and worked, and after a lot focus, studying, and more than a few sleepless nights, I dragged my grades back up before the end of the semester. I stopped letting things hang over me. I focused on the small things that made a smile sneak onto my face despite everything else. I kept my thoughts positive, and managed to haul myself out of that rut. People are always either depressed about the past, or anxious about their future. I’ve decided that instead of that I will be enjoying the now that I have, and take on anything that comes my way.
The entire experience, probably the hardest thing I had ever done, showed me what it was like to be unsure, and to regret decisions. These are definitely lessons learned. It taught me how to keep going when things got tough and take matters into my own hands. It taught me how to operate on my own, to find happiness in the smallest of things. Most of all, it made me grow up.