By Sara, age 25, Pennsylvania
Starting high school is scary, really scary. On my first day of high school I was not only starting a new school, but I was starting a new school in a new state. For the last five years my family had been living in New Mexico. I was happy there. I had a lot of friends there. I wanted to go to high school there. Turns out my parents had different plans and packed up the family and moved us to Montana.
I was 14, awkward, and living in a place where my friends were literally thousands of miles away. 1,507 miles to be exact.
The high school I went to in Montana was small, small enough that everyone noticed the new girl. Soon there were rumors floating around about the new girl from Mexico - not New Mexico the state, but Mexico the country. I can remember more than one person coming up to me that first day and asking if I was really Mexican. I was 5'10" and had blonde hair and blue eyes, so I think it's pretty obvious the answer was no.
That whole first week of high school is pretty much a blur. I remember getting lost a lot and not talking much, unless I was asked questions about myself from curious peers. I was thankful when the weekend arrived. My mom innocently asked me if I had any plans for the weekend, and for some reason this pushed me over the edge. All the stress, loneliness, and anger spewed out of me. I started screaming at my mom, something like: "Of course I don't have plans! I don't have any friends! I hate it here!" Then I stomped up the stairs, slammed my door shut, and cranked my music in true teen tantrum style.
A few minutes later I heard a knock at my door. I figured it was my mom coming to make sure I was ok and to see if I wanted to talk about it. Well, I didn't want to talk about it, especially not with her. My parents were the reason I had to move to this hell hole. I ignored the knocking but my mom opened the door to my room anyway.
She told me there were some girls here to see me. I had no idea what she was talking about. What girls? There were two girls from my school at the door. I recognized them from my English class and remembered talking to them a little bit. Once I saw them I remembered talking about how we lived close together. They were walking to a gas station that was only a few blocks away to get slushies' and wanted me to come with, so I did. It was a little awkward trying to keep a conversation going with these two girls I didn't really know, but I was thankful for the friendly gesture. I was in no position to be turning down friends.
I will never forget what a weird coincidence it was that they happened to show up at my house minutes after I had just declared I had no friends. It was one of those moments in life that feels like a scene from TV because it plays out so perfectly. It is always hard moving to a new place and starting a new school. It took some time, but eventually I began to think of Montana as my home instead of New Mexico. I can honestly say I loved going to high school in Montana and am glad we moved. If we had stayed in New Mexico it's hard to say how my life would have turned out, but it would certainly be a lot different than it is today. And that is a scary thought, even more scary than starting high school.
So, if you find yourself in a new school, new town, or even a new state this year, remember, it's hard at first, but it will get better. And hey, you never know, you might even end up liking it.