A Leap of Faith This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It all started with what was supposed to be a simple dream. Sometime in December of 2010, in the middle of my junior year of high school, I had a dream that changed my life. I was at an orientation for another school as I began another school year, and I was surrounded by my school acquaintances- people I would talk to, but wasn’t close enough to consider as a friend. In this dream, we were all talking about how we were unhappy at our current school, and we wondered and talked about whether or not switching schools would be for the better. Little did I know that dreams are much closer connected to reality than I thought. I woke up very early the next morning, and I remember just lying in my bed for nearly an hour, just thinking about this realistic dream, and wondering why such a scene would appear in my head. I came to the realization that my thoughts in the dream ran true to the thoughts in reality.

The social aspect of school was always the toughest part for me. School itself was fine- I’d always gotten good grades and I never got into any trouble. I was a good student, but socially, I was a wreck. Friends came and went with no explanation, and for someone who liked to stay drama-free, I’d experienced more than my fair share when it came to friendship issues. I’d really been having friendship problems since third grade, and now that I think about it, with that many friend problems, I really should have noticed that something was wrong earlier on.

Third grade was the year of control freaks. Seventh grade came the two faced friends and high school was a mess of friends who abandoned, drifted apart, and changed so much to the point where their personalities were almost unrecognizable. By junior year, I was alone. Not alone by the literal definition; there were people I would sit with at lunch and say hello to in the hallway, but I lacked the friendship that I needed.

I saw everyone else with this friendship that I envied and fantasized- that one person they did everything with, told everything to- and couldn’t figure out where I went wrong and why I didn’t have that. My first thought was that there must be something wrong with me. There must have been something seriously wrong and that was why I couldn’t hold down a decent friendship.

So with that on my mind, I threw myself into distractions and didn’t allow time for friends I didn’t have. Luckily for me, I had an insane class schedule filled with chemistry, government, and AP literature, so I had an excuse to spend so much extra time on schoolwork. Aside from homework and classes, I threw myself into extracurriculars. I spent time with plays and musicals, and theatre certainly kept me busy during show and rehearsal months, and I practiced the piano much more than usual, letting all the music and practice clear my head of things I didn’t want to think about. However, eventually my schedule settled down. Theatre ended, AP exams were over, and the end of the year was approaching. I had to make a decision.

I realized how true my dream was. This school was making me miserable. I was unhappy and I had a decision to make. I knew all the amazing opportunities my school had to offer, but if I was unhappy there, was it worth it? And there was the flip side as well. I was unsure of another schools’ opportunities, but should I risk it to improve my happiness? I had two options at that point. Be safe and surely unhappy, or risk it all for a chance at happiness.

The dream that inspired my options occurred in mid-December, so I had about six months to ponder my decision. For the remainder of the year, I tried to be happy at school, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it. Faking it would do no good, and at that point I realized that maybe there was a reason I was unhappy. Maybe I wasn’t meant for that school and maybe there were better things out there that I hadn’t yet discovered because I was at the wrong place with the wrong people.

I pondered my decision for months and I constantly weighed the pros and cons of those options. Eventually, I had to stop wondering and make a decision, which wasn’t easy. I am a ridiculously indecisive person even with small things, so having to decide on something so big was hard. But I had to do it. It was the last day of junior year and I made what turned out to be the best decision I’d ever made. On my final day of junior year, after exams, I registered for a new school.

I didn’t tell anybody about my decision, and three months later, I never returned to my previous school. I didn’t provide an explanation, and I just disappeared. When I say it like that, it sounds like I was running away from my problems, but I just thought of it this way. If anyone cared enough to ask, I would answer without question, but I didn’t want to announce my abandonment of a school I had gone to for 12 years and create even more problems. I was through with drama.

I still remember the day quite clearly. September 6, 2011. My first day of senior year, and my first day at a new school, which also turned out to be the weirdest and scariest day of school I’d ever had. I had never been the “new girl” before. I went to the same school district from kindergarten all the way up to junior year, so I’ve always been so used to knowing everyone. Or at least I’ve always recognized nearly every student even if I didn’t personally know them. I knew their faces and I knew who they were. Here, I didn’t even have that. I knew and recognized a maximum of six people. That was it.

I walked into school scared out of my mind. I remember that my decision had my family members telling me how brave I was for taking this kind of a risk. Everyone kept saying how brave I was, but in all honesty, I’d never been so scared in my life.

That first day was more than just nerve-wracking. It was just downright odd. My classes were filled with faces I didn’t know and names I didn’t recognize. The whole environment was new and I wasn’t used to it. That was when I realized I was crazy for thinking it was going to be easy. For some reason, I had this mindset that it would be simpler. I would switch schools, and I would automatically be happier. It didn’t work like that. It wasn’t easy. But as terrible and odd that first day was, when I say that switching schools was the best decision I’ve ever made, I sincerely mean it.

It took time to adjust, but once I did, I realized that it was a risk I didn’t regret- not even a little bit. Within a week, I talked to more people than I did in months at my old school. I met some fantastic friends and people who made me happier than I’d been in a long time. The thought that if I wouldn’t have had that dream and wouldn’t have had the idea to switch schools, and in turn wouldn’t have ever even met these people makes me even more grateful that I had.

With my faith rekindled, my happiness revived, and knowing that I’m happier here than I ever was at my old school makes me think that maybe I was never meant to be there. It’s a shame that it took me years of hidden misery to figure it out, but it’s that kind of misery that makes me thankful for the time I’ve had here with people that have changed my life and attitude for the better. That’s why my life motto is this: Everything happens for a reason. And when things don’t go well, that only means that life has something even better in store.

So yes. Most of my high school years were awful. But if I wouldn’t have had a bad experience, I wouldn’t have had any reason to switch schools, and I would have missed out on meeting some wonderful people that are now some of my closest friends. Everything good and bad always happens for a reason. Sometimes it takes a little pain to figure out why you were put in that situation, but when you find the good in it, it’s so worth it.





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