When I entered high school I was thirteen. I was the kind of kid who sprung into action without a second thought, I always impulsive, a bit rude, and as stubborn as a rock. I had been like this since I was in the first grade. Back then I thought I knew what kind of person I was, I was confident and strong, I was smart and mature. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like, I stood my ground no matter the consequence and I always had an overflowing sense of pride. That was the person I was, and that was the person I suspected I’d always be.
Then I entered high school.
Transitioning from eight years of sheltered, private school life to a huge public school with literally thousands of kids was one of the most terrifying things I have ever had to do.
Just seeing the hundreds of kids overflow in the hallway on my first day of high school was both intimidating and absolutely terrifying. I felt so small and insignificant, which is something I had never felt before. In the first day of high school, I quickly realized that I didn’t know a single person in any of my classes, It was literally a teenager’s worst nightmare. I was a loner for the longest time. I was quiet, and polite, I was shy and self conscious. I was afraid to speak up, and hated getting any attention whatsoever. I didn’t get to see my friends at school as often as I wanted to and I was quickly categorized as the awkward shy girl that no one wanted to talk to. My grades also took a hard blow. I usually got As at my private school since there was a small number of students and constant personal help from the teachers both during school and after school. At the high school I learned that good grades don’t come easy, and some teachers have little to no sympathy for the students who are having a tough time, both in their classwork and their social experience in the classroom.
It was around my first few months of high school that I started experiencing depression and my first panic attack. While this may not seem out of the norm for a large majority of teens, this left me petrified. I wasn’t sure of who I was anymore. I no longer saw myself as confident and strong. I was weak and afraid. This made me hate myself to the point of random break downs. I was completely falling apart.
When my fourteenth birthday arrived I announced (much to my parent’s horror) that I didn’t want a party. I was constantly depressed and didn’t feel like celebrating when it was just going to be another school day. That day was probably the worst school day I had ever experienced. It started off with my best friend forgetting my birthday, “Oh my god! It’s your birthday! I can’t believe I forgot I’m so sorry!”, I did my best to brush it off, “Don’t worry about it I don’t really care anyway” (even though I kind of did). The day slugged by and I couldn’t have felt so alone. No one really seemed to care (or even know) it was my birthday, even though my name had been on the morning announcements for birthdays. Yes I suppose it’s my own fault nothing happened, but part of me just hoped something good would happen. Maybe someone in my class would finally talk to me, maybe my teacher would call for me after class to wish me a happy birthday, maybe something really good would happen but no, nothing really good happened. Nothing really bad happened ether, but that just made me even more mad. It’s hard to say why, but I can tell you that I spent a good three hours gorging on ice cream and watching youtube videos for the rest of that night. Ironically enough, this day was what led me to put my life back into my hands. That weekend I bought makeup. I bought new clothes. I got my mom to get me a tutor for math and science. I learned googled ways to make friends, and how to apply makeup and how to get better grades in my classes. At school I forced myself to open up more. It was tough but things gradually began getting better after a few months. I made friends, I joined the track spring team, my grades raised a bit, and it became slightly easier to go to school. The nervous breakdowns happened less and I became happier.
By the time freshmen year was over I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I had changed so much and in such a short period of time. I became more confident and had a strong sense of pride. Although I also learned to watch my mouth and became a more observant person. Freshman year was a tough year, but it was worth it.
I’m in my junior year right now, I have a good number of friends, pretty okay grades, and a bright future ahead. Although, my freshman year of high school was hard, I know that it’s just going to get better and better from here.