For much of my young academic career, I enjoyed the never changing surroundings of a small parochial school. This was a Godsend for me as I was extremely shy and was very comfortable in an environment where the faces of my classmates and teachers rarely changed. At the end of my seventh grade year, however, my father was transferred to a new city as another company acquired the one for which he was employed. Over the next 3 years, I was to attend five different schools in four different states and learn a valuable lesson.
I quickly discovered that being ‘the new kid’ was a short-lived novelty; as people grew accustomed to my presence, I became just another face, overlooked in the crowd. I soon dreaded entering the cafeteria at lunch and looking for a group that would welcome me to their table. After several weeks of this, I realized that I was the one that had to make the effort to get to know them. This meant not only overcoming my shyness, but also reaching deeper into myself than I ever had before. It meant finding the courage to walk up to that table of giggling girls and ask if I could join them. The first time was the hardest, but it quickly became easier. Unfortunately, just as I began to settle in and become comfortable, I found myself uprooted from the now familiar environment and starting fresh in yet another new school.
I could have taken the easier way around the situation by sitting by myself, but I chose not to. At each new school, I strove to establish myself socially and soon realized that I had the inner strength to overcome my shyness. It was incredibly liberating and taught me that anything is possible with perseverance and courage. I learned that the only limitations I have are the ones I place on myself.
College will present similar challenges with all the new faces and new environment. In some ways, the transition into college life will be easier because everyone will be new and struggling to ac...