Durham, North Carolina is my home town, I lived there for fourteen years. In Durham, I was completely content with my life. I wasn’t unhappy — I was just satisfied. Durham provided me with everything I needed: an education, my family, and a comfortable home. At the time, I thought there was really no need to leave.
That is, until my mom got the job at Leesville Road Elementary.
For me, it was a big deal leaving Durham. I was so close to my extended family, and I wouldn’t be seeing them as much when I moved. That sadness quickly faded when I realized we would only be one town over. Other than being sad about leaving friends and family, I was content with moving.
In Durham, I had always been moved for school to school — usually because my parents weren’t happy with the curriculum or how the school did things. By the time I was in sixth grade, I didn’t mind moving anymore due to my newfound ability to adjust so quickly to a different place.
I was extremely happy for my mom: she had a better job opportunity at a better school. I was glad that Leesville elementary was a perfect fit for her. After coming home from work, she would always talk about all the great things she heard about Leesville middle and high school.
As I listened to her, I wondered what Leesville was like and how different it was from Durham schools. Eventually, she pulled my sister and me out of our year round school and transferred us to Leesville Road Middle School. At the time, I wasn’t particularly happy about her timing, considering it was in the middle of the school year, and I was in eighth grade.
Eighth grade year was a very slow and tedious adjustment for me. I think it was maybe because it was one of the biggest steps I had taken out of my comfort zone. I had always known everybody and was able to balance my school life, even when I moved to a different school. However, when I got to Leesville, it was hard for me to transfer into a new city and school.
What made it hard was the fact that I was no longer in a setting that I was familiar with and at that point in time, I wasn’t used to that. I moved from school to school but that was all within one city. Moving to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, was totally different. When I moved and transferred in, I didn’t know anybody and was really the hardest part for me. No matter where I was I always knew at least one face while I was in Durham and the fact that I didn’t know someone in Raleigh somewhat scared me.
As the days slowly progressed at my new school, I remember noticing all the differences between Leesville Middle and my former school. I obtained much more school work and couldn’t relate to my new classmates. Moderately I did adjust, I just had to take it a day at a time. I didn’t really make any friends but I did form relationships with people who helped me get through the school year with their hospitality.
By the time I was in Leesville High, I had gotten somewhat used to the change in schools. Most of my freshman year was full of observing. In three weeks, I had concluded that Leesville High was extremely different from the middle school and in no way like the Durham schools. I noticed how different the school environment was and how the high school always seemed to do everything on a grander scale.
Durham’s high schools don’t have as many resources available to them as Raleigh high schools do. Durham County teachers don’t have what they need to make their classes interesting and don’t get paid as well as raleigh teachers. Most of the classrooms in Durham County high schools have a tendency to packed with students, meaning there can be over-crowding issues. Most of its high schools are run-down due to old age and lack of money coming in. For the difference between the two city schools was staggering.
The fact that almost every person in the school had at least one piece of Leesville gear was shocking. It was completely foreign to me. Never in my life had I seen so much school spirit in one place. I remember how in awe I was when I went to my first LRHS football game. I remember watching the student section throwing the baby powder in the air during the national anthem and listened to spirit-filled chants.
Freshman year was a good year for me. In almost all my classes I would notice how passionate my teachers were about the subjects they taught. A favorite teacher of mine was definitely my english teacher, Eric Broer. I loved the fact that he didn’t baby his students and made us think deeply and outside of the box. Based on my encounters with him I knew that he cared about us as students and what we did with our high careers. He gave us hard work but I knew the only reason he was doing that was because he knew we could do it, which is why I appreciated him so much. I appreciated him because he actually believed in his students. Being in his class has been one of my best Leesville high experiences.
Now that I’ve lived in Raleigh for almost a year and a half, I feel like I’ve completely adapted. I’m happy with my life in Raleigh, but of course there are times when I start to miss my hometown and my old friends.
Looking back on it now, I wouldn’t take back any of the experiences or adaptations I had to go through. It was hard adjusting to an environment such as Leesvilles because of how different it was from my prior schools. What I experienced changed me for the better. Now I’m open to different and strange things, less closed off to everyone, and more confident in my decisions. I actually appreciate my transition experience because it transformed me into the person I am today.