Finding the True Me

April 14, 2010
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Numerous times in life, I have wondered who I am and where my place in the world is as I have worked to discover who I am and what beliefs I stand by. My high school years proved to be very challenging in this area, as not only did I struggle with my perspective on myself, but also with friends and even illness. While working to overcome these hurdles was not fun, I have come to believe that each of these experiences has made me a stronger person, as they have helped me to grow and mature. Perhaps the most life changing experience I had, though, occurred during what became my junior year of high school.

The 2007-2008 school year was very difficult for me since I had just come back from being in recovery from a misdiagnosed eating disorder, which caused me to lose the previous school year that should have been my junior year. Upon returning to high school, I faced many obstacles and hurdles among which were reconnecting with my friends, getting back into the swing of being in school, and most importantly how to proceed with my education. I had been warned beforehand that I would not be able to pick up where I left off with my class, but while I knew this was true, my greatest fear was falling back a year and not being able to find any friends.
Some of this fear was built upon the fact that for the majority of my education career, friends had been a relatively difficult and sore topic for me. By this time, I had come to believe that I was incapable of being friends with anyone outside of the Special Education Department, which I had become part of during seventh grade. My decision of how to proceed with my education affected me for the rest of the time I was in high school and affected the rest of my education as well.

The decision to try to fit two school years into one was made after much thought, consideration, and conversation with my parents about what the best approach was for me to pursue my education to its fullest. With the encouragement of my Special Education case manager, Mr. Haxhiu, I firmly decided that I wanted nothing more than to stay with my current class, and I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, what started as a good goal didn’t take long to turn sour.

I had been working on two school years in one for about one and a half grading quarters when I became thoroughly exhausted and found that continuing on the path I was on was not healthy any longer. This prompted a decision which started me on a journey that would forever change my life.

Once again, there was much discussion with my parents before a final decision was reached. This time, though, the decision was to fall back and be a junior again instead of trying to cram both my junior and senior year into one school year. My parents agreed that I should quit the online courses I was taking in order to graduate with my original class, but requested that I finish out the semester so as to gain the credits I could for putting in the work that I did. I agreed to follow through, but I was not at all happy with the request and made that clear when I got frustrated. By the time the end of the semester rolled around, I was out of energy and grateful for the chance to slow down. To my surprise, the changes occurring in my life were just beginning.

Around the same time that I was having trouble with the online courses I was taking, I began to struggle with friendships as well. Upon my return from being in treatment for the misdiagnosed eating disorder, I began to discover that I was much stronger as a person than I gave myself credit for being. With this realization came the desire for real friends, which I had never had before. To my surprise, it didn’t take much time for me to find the group that I fit in best with in the class of 2009. In fact, with the help of a girl I’d known from the bus to my Intermediate school, I’d found my own group in less than a week.

The girl’s name was Erin, and of every person I’d ever met, I believe she had the biggest influence on me. Erin and I had been acquaintances only briefly several years back, so it came as quite a surprise to me when we crossed paths again at lunch in the high school. I had been ditched by the girl I was sitting with and Erin had shown great faith and courage by not only coming to sit with me, but inviting me to join her lunch table. From that point onward my friendship with Erin has blossomed into a strong bond that is unbreakable.
Erin helped me discover who I am as a person; find the friends I’d been looking for throughout my education; and discover what it meant to have faith by bringing me to her youth group. She, along with many others who followed her in becoming my friend, played an important role in helping to develop the person so many people see today!





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