Before I get into the story, let me give some background information. The high school I went to freshman year was my first choice high school; it’s a Roman Catholic predominately Black school. I’m not Catholic, I’m Muslim… this will play an important role later on. Okay, first day of freshman year: all the other freshman know are friends and have known each other their whole lives.. then there’s me. I knew no one, I was just this shy girl trying to figure out my schedule. Nobody talked to me; I was a loner. But that was okay, I excelled academically. I got A’s in most my classes. I know you’re like “Okay, Khiara. You didn’t have any friends, how is that so bad you had to transfer?” I’m just at the peak of the iceberg.
I had many teachers I liked, many who liked me… then there were the ones that did not care for me. I had this one teacher, she was young and popular, and who obviously didn’t care about our education. She talked on the phone during class, she talked about students, copied tests offline and give them to us, allow students to cheat on the final, etc. It was terrible. Then, I got in trouble by her because I signed a petition to get her removed. Remember when I said I was Muslim earlier? I was made fun of because of this. Teachers would purposely say things during class, allow students to make rude comments while I was in the room. Oh! Did I mention I had another teacher who was old, mean, and prejudiced? The principal only cared about the athletes and the troublemakers. He lacked compassion and sympathy for all other people. On top of all of this, I had self-esteem issues, financial issues, and family issues. By then, I made a couple friends but it couldn’t ease the pain I had inside. I received a letter in the mail “… due to failure to make payments on tuition your child cannot return to school until a payment is made…” I was kicked out of school until my tuition got paid! How lovely. By the grace of God I was able to return to school but I was depressed. I was faking a smile so people wouldn’t see the pain I was going through. That was the moment I decided I needed to take a year off.
Of course I didn’t drop out of school but I knew I needed to transfer schools. I knew sophomore year I would be happy. I thought this through completely… NOT! If you have ever attended a private school before you know your transcript will not get released until all tuition is paid off. Well that wasn’t the case for me. No good school would take me without my official transcript. This was sign #1 I shouldn’t have transferred schools. I had to suck my pride up and go to a D rated school in Downtown St. Louis. This school was terrible. It stunk, it was infested with roaches and rats. The electricity was always cut off, prison food looked more appealing than the school lunches. The students didn’t care about their education or yours. They disturb classes, cursed teachers out (and teachers would curse them out back.) It was a mad house. If I thought I had no friends at my old school (we’re going to call it School A) then my new social life had become more desolate than the Sahara…
My entire sophomore year of high school I talked to no one. I didn’t participate in group work, I skipped classes, I didn’t eat at all. I wanted to give up on life. I realized this was a terrible mistake. I needed to go back. My best friend still went to School A so the Tuesday after Labor Day 2015 I decided to “go back”. I was still in their system, my name was still on class rosters, so in my mind that translates to “I’m a student. All I have to do is show up and say I was on an extended vacation.” I got dressed in the uniform, I went to 3 classes that day then BOOM! I got caught and was sent to the principal’s office. I was so embarrassed. Not because I got caught but because I was telling teachers to give me the missing work from the first 3 weeks of school. The principal laughed in my face, a office aide laughed in my face, multiple teachers laughed in my face. I had to call my dad and tell him I got in trouble for sneaking into school. I’m the only person you’ll ever hear say they snuck into school.
Anyway, I became the joke of sophomore year. I kept in touch with the Director of Admissions at School A and she helped me get back in. So, after another school year of hell I was admitted back into School A. Being at that bad school taught me a few things, though. I learned to love myself and fixed some of my self-esteem issues. I became confident in class. Most of all, I received an A in Honors Algebra II (this has no significant meaning besides I take College Algebra now as a junior.) At the end of the day, those 10 months of hell allowed me to have 2 more years of sanity and happiness.
Now that the long story is over I’ll give some tips from my experience.
Tip 1: DO NOT TRANSFER UNLESS YOU TRULY NEED TO!
For my case I needed to transfer because of those personal reasons but if you can prevent or hold off on transferring then I would. If you feel the need to transfer because you have no friends then maybe you should just stick it out. High school isn’t about making friends, honestly. You’re there to learn and to discover yourself.
Tip 2: Talk to an Adult
You could have the same mindset as me and think you’re adult enough to make certain decisions. You’re not. Get an adult and talk to them about transferring. Talk to the counselor, the principal, your guardian, somebody who has the knowledge on what you’re about to get yourself into.
Tip 3: If you decide to transfer, make sure your credits are transferable
I’m still suffering from this. Not all the classes I took at the other school transferred to School A. Talk with the new school and the old school to make sure you’re on the right track at both locations just in case.
Tip 4: Remember you can excel at any school
I am living proof of that. At the end of my sophomore year I had a 4.01/5.0 GPA. As long as you put your all into yourself and your work you’ll be okay.