From down the road to across the world: the “new kid” experience
November 12, 2015
My name is Sarah Khoury, I am a senior, and for those of you who do not know me, I moved from Syria when I was a sophomore. It was a big transition for me. Although I spent every summer here, I did not know anyone that attended Sandburg or lived in the area. I went from attending a small private High school with only 400 students to Carl Sandburg with about 4000 students, which was a big change.
I was a bit nervous on my first day; everyone had already made their cliques freshmen year. everyone seemed to belong somewhere. I did not even know where to begin. There were so many different people, so many different personalities; how was I supposed to find people that I felt comfortable being myself around? I definitely was not the most outgoing person when I first got here. I was really shy; I did not know what everyone’s mindset was like here or how it differed from what I was used to.
So, I observed for a while, and then tried putting myself out there,tried not to be so shy and joined some clubs. It took sometime meeting a lot of wrong people to find the right ones to be around.
Over the past three years at Sandburg I can honestly say, I have met amazing people in classes such as, ECE, Dance, choir, and science, even during lunch, that helped mold me. They made Sandburg feel smaller and made it feel like I belonged here.
As for academics, sophomore year was really tough for me especially in English and science. Like I said I lived in Syria for nine years, therefore I took all my course subjects in Arabic. Although I speak English perfectly, it was still hard transitioning into all subjects in English, because I did not know all the technical terms in English. But with the help of my teachers and Google translate I was able to adjust to Sandburg, and by junior year I had very few if not any problems regarding my academics. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from; if you just put yourself out there and meet the right people, Sandburg will be one of the best experiences of your life.
I entered a foreign territory ready to book and run but then where would I go? The Jewel Osco across the street or maybe get the exercise and walk back home? My options were quite convincing but ridiculous. Come on Arwa, pull yourself together girl. I pushed through the doors: welcome to Carl Sandburg.
The school was gigantic. I couldn’t breathe. There were too many people. Lincoln-Way East wasn’t this congested. I shove my way through the crowd, frantically looking over my schedule. Honestly, I felt like a freshman.
I wasn’t ready for this transition. No doubt about it, I felt uncomfortable leaving a place where I knew many people to going to an unfamiliar school only knowing a few. This meant starting from scratch: going through the whole process of discovering the personalities of people, and through experience, I would know who to avoid and who to keep contact with.
Starting fresh sounds great, but it doesn’t sound encouraging when you’re holding on to the past. I just wanted to wake up the next morning knowing that I’ll be back at LWE which was not going to happen. It was time for me to move on. Knowing that I wasn’t the first or last person to transfer to a new school was comforting. Who am I kidding, I was going to jump out of my skin and scream Hallelujah when I met another transfer: MY people. Now I had someone to relate to!
In time, it got better. Once I accepted the situation as is, I became optimistic and open minded. I just had to make the best of my next three years. With a positive mindset, my attitude changed. I adjusted to the move and making friends became easier.
The friends I made at Sandburg made the transition a lot easier for me. The people I met through classes, extracurriculars, and school activities have made my experience at Sandburg better than I expected. Sometimes I look back and wonder if I had not transferred I wouldn’t have met the people who made my stay memorable.
We are all going to get pushed out of our comfort zone and when that happens, we have to put our game face on. We may feel uncomfortable, but it won’t be permanent. Eventually, we’ll adjust to change and if we keep an optimistic mindset, everything will fall into place.