“We’re what?!” I asked when my parents informed me that we were moving from the cornfields and university campus that I had grown accustomed to in Iowa City, Iowa to the hustle and bustle that defined the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Since moving to Iowa City at the age of three from Nanjing, China, I had spent my childhood there, attending Weber Elementary School, playing with friends, going to family festivities that the University of Iowa offered, and fishing the backcountry rivers and lakes with my grandpa. But now, everything I had known would change. There would be no farms, no universities, and no silence that seems to pervade rural areas after nine o’clock at night. The friends I had made in Iowa City and the school I had loved would be left behind, replaced by foreign scenery and strangers.
At the age of nine, this move seemed like the end of the world. However, upon arriving in Rochester Hills, Michigan and going to class for the first time at Brookland Elementary, I found out how receiving both the school and my classmates were to “the new kid.” I quickly became good friends with my classmates and excelled in school. By making new friends, the nervousness and unwillingness that accompanied the move soon faded and I became comfortable with my new surroundings.
Since that move from Iowa City to Rochester Hills, I have moved again to the suburbs of Chicago. While both moves were accompanied by the sorrow that comes from leaving friends and the connection with the neighborhood, the second was also accompanied by the expectation of being in a new place, meeting new people, and going to a new school.
After moving multiple times, I believe that this often dreaded process has taught me many life-long lessons. I have found that moving has helped me develop as a person, allowing me to make friends more easily, adjust more quickly to new settings, and communicate more effectively with many different people. By being the “new kid,” I experienced the intimidation of a new school, the difficulty of talking to unfamiliar classmates, and all the other complications involved. I feel that this allows me to fully appreciate the difficulties others face during this process, which is why I am usually one of the first to talk to new students in my classes, helping them adjust to daily life at my high school.
Now as I prepare to move on to college, I believe that this is just another move. I will once again be in a new environment, surrounded by other students from all over the world, who, initially, will be just as alone as I am. However, through past moving experiences, I believe that nothing comes from staying in isolation. So look for me to be one of the first to break the ice, talk with others, make new friends, and work together to push through the difficulties that living on your own in college entails.