Imagine growing up in the same town since you were 2 years old. You were surrounded with the same friends and classmates in school, shopped at the same grocery stores for the same ingredients in the same aisles, ate at the same restaurants and diners, drove on the same roads. It was all you knew. Then imagine moving, right before four of the most memorable years of your life started. As dramatic as that introduction sounds, it pales in comparison to what I was feeling during my last year in the town that I grew up in. My parents had informed us that we were moving before I started high school, and to say that I was sad or upset would be such an understatement. I was basically devastated. I thought my life was totally over. How could I move on from the same people that I’d been friends with for 10 years?! Well, I did. I mean, I had to.
We moved to a town about 45 minutes south the summer before my freshman year of high school. I still remember how incredibly nervous I was for freshman orientation, and how I thought that I’d give anything to go back to my old town. The year started, I made my first friend (who I’m still bffs with!) in Bio, and I went out of my way to warmly introduce myself to everyone around me. I joined social activities/clubs, found my interests, and three years later, I can confidently say that I cannot imagine completing high school anywhere else. As much as my school and peers have shaped me the last three years, so has what moving has taught me about myself.
The main two things I’ve learned are:
Change is a good thing.
As cliché as that is, change is an amazing thing. Change is something that everyone goes through, and although it may seem really scary and impossible to conquer to begin with, it always teaches you a valuable lesson you would’ve missed out on otherwise. It’s the only way you expand your horizons, have your thoughts and opinions challenged, and learn to live outside of your comfort zone. In all stages of your life, you will be exposed to new people. Moving at an early age, but an important enough stage in my life has gradually gotten me accustomed to being comfortable with new people even if you’re the odd (wo)man out sometimes.
I am a determined, outgoing, brave person.
The fact that I could make friends within my first week at school, and that I went out of my way to introduce myself to nearly everyone I could, taught me not to care about what people would think of me for being too personable or being too talkative. I learned that I should take pride in who I was, and anyone that wasn’t giving me their friendship/relationship willingly and without constant chasing wasn’t worth it. I was determined to be inducted into the social circles of my new town, and I made it happen. I learned that I could accomplish anything if I set my mind to it. Overall, moving is a challenge many people have to go through in their lives. If you’re going through a similar situation, I hope you’ve learned that this is far from the “end of the world,” yet the start of a new chapter. As minute as this situation may seem in comparison to other things, it’s one of the things that have shaped me into who I am.
Neha Lund is a rising senior at Manalapan High School who is passionate about politics, feminism, education, and leadership. She plans to double major in Economics and Political Science, with an intent to go to Law School or work for a non-profit. She is very involved in Junior States of America, loves trying new food, and spends her time calling congressional offices to support youth leadership campaigns.