Change is the best you can get

Marine - Brussels, Belgium
Entered on December 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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Two years ago, I got kicked out from my Belgian school because of my disrespectful behavior. This school, St André, is kind of a robot industry. The entire student body looks the same. Most of the teachers think that if you’re not the best, you don’t deserve their support. For the students, if you don’t wear the right outfit, or your hair cut isn’t cool enough, you’ll be associated with the word “loser” for the rest of your school life. The thousands of coolness rules of this school almost changed me totally, and after three years spent lying to myself to be someone else, I became what the French people would call “une pétasse”, a material girl who judge people by their appearance and don’t want to meet different people from her. But I wasn’t entirely happy like that. I was uncomfortable with myself.

Fortunately, something happened and changed my life. I failed my classes and my teachers got tired of me.

I had to leave the school and find another one. My brother Paul was at ISB and my older brother César went there too, so my father took the decision, and two weeks later, I registered in ISB. I will always remember my first day at the international school: a nightmare. The first thing I thought looking at the student was “Do they know what fashion means?” I didn’t want to meet new people, they were weird, different. People I didn’t know were coming in front of me and were nice to me; they were trying to know me! It didn’t work like that at St André. So for the first two weeks, I ate alone.

I quickly started to feel depressed. I hated it, being alone I mean, and I knew that if I didn’t change, I would never have friends. So I stopped to look at the people with disdain and just began to smile. It worked very well. I met three French boys, and they quickly became my friends. I wasn’t alone anymore, and being nice didn’t kill me. For the first time since too many years, I was happy.

After a few months, I took the decision to meet non-French speakers. It was a hard task for me, my English was kind of bad, and worst when I had to talk to people I didn’t already know, probably because of the fear of judgment. But luckily, the first non-French speaker I talked to is the nicest boy I ever met. When he talked to me for the first time, I didn’t get a word of what he said. He quickly understood that I was an ESL student, but unlike the other students, he kept trying to communicate with me. He still is one of my best friends now.

I only kept a few friends from St André, but I know that the ones that I still hang with are the real ones. Often, my friends ask me the question: “If tomorrow you get the chance to go back to St André, would you take it?” Last year, I had to think before answering that question, but now you don’t even have to ask. For nothing in the world I would leave this school.

ISB changed my life, changed me. Now I am more open to the world, I’m not locked into some stupid ways of thinking. I met and will meet incredible people, with incredible stories, all of them from different backgrounds. I am happy with myself, with what I became, and nothing can change that. Maybe it is only applicable to me but, I believe that change is the best you can get.