Moving On

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Sometimes when it’s quiet and I have time to reflect it’s hard to believe that I’m a senior in high school and preparing for my next big challenge in life – leaving home for college. It’s a bit overwhelming at times. What school should I attend? What should I study? What kind of job should I pursue after college? These are tough questions to answer. Luckily, I don’t have to answer them all right now, but when I do, I at least feel somewhat prepared to deal with change in my life thanks to some of the experiences I’ve had moving to new places and meeting new people.
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and lived there until the summer of 2002 when my family moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the beginning of my fourth grade year. Halfway through seventh grade my family and I moved from Vicksburg to Modesto, California. Although I had been to some interesting places in the eastern United States – Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., -- I had never traveled west of the Mississippi River before, and now, I found myself not only moving to another strange, new place, but I was also moving in the middle of the school year. Once again, I was starting over with a new place, a new school, and new friends. I’ll never forget saying my goodbyes to all my Vicksburg friends and climbing into our car to begin the long ride with my family to my new home. While “moving on” from my school and friends was tough, the drive and the move in general brought my family and me much closer together – that’s what four days in a car with my Mom, Dad, younger brother and dog did for me. As I look back on it, those four days we spent driving to California gave us a great opportunity to spend quality time together talking about our new adventure and seeing a new part of the country, one very different from the South.

On the way to California, we drove through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. While traveling through Texas I got to see how important ranching was in that area. I marveled at the desert landscapes of New Mexico and Arizona. We even ventured out of our way one day to get a glimpse of the Grand Canyon. Seeing these new places firsthand, instead of just reading about them in a history book or seeing them on TV, gave me a greater appreciation for the diverse beauty of our country and it helped me to realize that, yes, I was moving on, but it wasn’t a bad experience. I began to view my move to California as something good as I now understand that is what “moving on” should be.
Although I was able to see the many positives of my move to California, the one negative that I couldn’t get past easily was that because I moved half way through my seventh grade year, I missed the basketball tryouts for my new school’s team. Before this I had never missed a year of playing basketball. Having to sit out that year was very hard; however, it did prepare me for another very difficult “moving on” decision I made this past year, and it, too, caused me to have to sit out another year of basketball.
Last year, I decided that I needed a different school environment. As I began my junior year of high school, I began entertaining the thought of transferring to Central Catholic High School. Having moved on a few times before and adapting quite well, I felt that I was prepared. I knew what I wanted in a school. I was looking for smaller class sizes where the students were serious about grades. It helped that I knew several people at Central Catholic, so I wouldn’t be starting completely over; however, as I explored this possible transfer I learned that because I played varsity basketball at my previous high school I would be ineligible to play at Central Catholic during my junior year. What a tough decision that was, but I decided to make the move to Central Catholic, and I have not regretted my decision one time, even as I sat on the bench during basketball games wishing I could play.
Now, as I think back to all of the changes in my life, the moving, the new schools, the new friends, I feel excited about the challenge of being on my own and in college. Am I nervous? Yes, but I know from my experiences that I can adapt to new places, people, and challenges. Am I prepared? Not totally, because I know there will always be surprises along the way, but I also know that every new event, or surprise, in my life helps me grow as a person. What I do know for sure, though, is that “moving on” is good as long as I remember the path I took to get to the new place, the friends that I made, and the lessons that I learned along the way.





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BaiLiHua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2010 at 7:24 am
A great article. I know being a young adult, about to move into the fully adult world, is sometimes an unsettling prospect. Thanks for sharing your own experience. You'll probably have a great time in college.
 
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