Alicia’s Guest Blog
Earlier this summer I met a young lady named Alicia Hartley. Alicia moved from Hiddenite to Mt Ulla, NC and is now attending West Rowan High School. An aspiring writer, she reminds me of another West student who chose that same career path. Jacki Huntington graduated from high school in 2007, planning to pursue a degree in journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill. She received that degree in 2011. As any writer knows, journalism is not an easy career choice, but after many twists and turns, Jacki moved to New York City and is now a video producer.
I shared Jacki’s story hoping to give Alicia encouragement. When I asked her if she would like to be a guest blogger, exploring what it’s like to leave behind friends and start over at a new school, she was excited. She thought this was the perfect chance to get experience as a writer on a national platform. Following are her thoughts on the transition.
Moving is hard. It’s hard for a million different reasons. It’s especially hard if you’ve lived in the same small town for nearly as long as you can remember. Not long after I turned five, my mom moved my sister and I to Hiddenite, NC. It’s a tiny town in a tiny county. Alexander County is a small place located in the foothills of North Carolina. I lived there, with some minor moves, from kindergarten to my sophomore year of high school at Alexander Central. For those of you unfamiliar with high schools and what their years are called, that’s tenth grade. Long time, right? There was one high school in the entire county. Everyone knows everyone. I was established as a good student and I had good friends and an excellent church family. Granted, I didn’t have many friends, but I’ve always preferred quality over quantity. I’ve always loved to learn, but I never really had anything that totally clicked with me until I hit the high school, either. I had a wonderful theater family, and my French class was organizing a trip to France that I was dying to go on. I saw my friends every day. My sister and nephew lived next door and I saw them very often. I’d babysit my nephew when she needed me to. I had it made in this tiny town. I was even signed up to take college level courses. But it didn’t last.
Due to unforeseen circumstances this year, Alicia’s mom had to move. To keep Alicia from changing schools in the middle of her sophomore year, she let Alicia stay at her older sister’s house. This is how Alicia describes that time.
My sister came to my rescue. I had a play coming up in a matter of weeks, I had my friends, my cat, my nephew and my sister. I had so many things that needed me in Alexander County. I lived with my sister from the end of December to the middle of summer. The original plan had been for Mom to get a place in Alexander County so that I wouldn’t have to change schools, and everything I had established would stay established. Well, the plan changed. Mom, instead found a place in Rowan County.
I went to visit her one weekend, and we went and explored Salisbury a bit. I told her that I liked the area. She took that as me saying that I loved Salisbury and wanted to stay there until my dying days. So, she started planning for us to live in Rowan County, nearly an hour away from everything I knew and loved. I was leaving behind my friends, my church, my theater family, my opportunities for college courses and a chance to go to France. My French teacher nearly cried when I told her I was moving, and so did I. I didn’t want to leave everything behind. I may have been more than a bit bitter about the whole ordeal, but I’m sixteen and that’s understandable, I think.
As you can see, Alicia went through a lot of changes this past year. If you’d like to see how Alicia adapted to her new environment, what lessons she’s learned, and if she’s made friends at West Rowan, check out her guest blog in a few weeks.
Did you ever have to move during a developmental time in your life? What lessons did you learn? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email email@example.com.