June 9th 2007. I believe in learning from experience. Moving from Las Vegas, Nevada to Santa Monica California freshman year had taught me this.
The summer before freshman year it occurred to me that my mother and step father may divorce, and that there was a possibility that I could be moving to Santa Monica, California. I had just began to really enjoy my summer. My friends from middle school and I had already thoughts of high school in our mind and how we would all enjoy the experience together. It seemed as though everyone was becoming closer with high expectations of the coming years.
When the move finally came it was a huge change. Everything seemed so different. I was put outside my comfort zone, and only being fourteen, I had not learned to accept change. Luckily for me, I brought my best friend along for a few weeks during the summer to ease the discomfort of a new environment. Growing up in Las Vegas, you were brought up quickly and exposed to much of reality at an earlier age at most. Just going to school alone, half naked women were displayed on billboards near elementary schools and family dinners were at casinos. In Santa Monica everything seemed innocent and everyone seemed to know each other. I felt like I could never fit into such an environment and that it would be difficult to make new friends.
After my best friend left it was tough, I felt like there were hardly any people my age anywhere and when time finally came to start school all the new faces was startling. The first couple of weeks I immediately wanted to move back. I missed my old friends, my old house, and absolutely detested the thought I would have to continue living here at least another four years.
Eventually I had come to terms with the fact I could not change the situation, and I was here to stay. I learned to start up new conversation and mix in with all crowds. I began to realize that freshman year was the perfect time to enter the community because everyone was experiencing a change, and had to encounter unfamiliar faces. I did however make new friends and found it exciting to start with a fresh slate, making friends without being confined in a particular social group made it easier to make friends with who I please.
Every year that has passed since then things have changed. I have made new friends and lost some old ones, but I do not regret the changes that have occurred. Moving to Santa Monica taught me that even experiences early in life prepare you for more trials ahead. Now with only one year remaining, I am more prepared for college or going to unfamiliar places. Moving early on gives me the courage today to meet new people in new places. I am now more prepared for experiencing the changes in years to come.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.