September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
One of the most important changes in my life was when my parents moved to a new neighborhood right before I started high school. Before they moved, the high school I would have gone to was easily the worst school in my city: low graduation rates, few AP classes, and poor extracurricular programs. The school I ended up attending was the opposite of this; I think if my parents hadn’t made the decision to move, my life thus far would have been very different.
The most obvious difference would be the academic one: I would probably be attending the University of Kansas, not Vanderbilt, and I would probably not be as academically successful as I have been. I credit much of my academic success thus far to my ability to write good essays quickly and with minimal revision; I learned this from my high school’s excellent English program and from taking numerous AP classes that emphasized writing (with pen and paper!) within strict time limits. The ability to write quickly, sequentially, and “right” the first time has saved my grades numerous times. Additionally, without all the AP classes I took and the expanded reading and writing experience they gave me, I probably wouldn’t have scored well on the SAT either. Thus, with these handicaps, I probably wouldn’t be at Vanderbilt now.
Another difference would be a social one. At the high school I actually attended, I was a huge orchestra nerd; all of my best friends were excellent musicians, and they all also happen to be some of the most intellectually gifted people I know. Instead of spending our free time playing video games or shopping like other kids, we worked on quartets, went to competitions, and were basically the nerdiest high school students ever. While none of us took school particularly seriously (unless we were actually interested in a topic), we all got As and competed with each other over who could put in the least amount of effort for them; studying for the SAT or taking it more than once was out of the question. If my parents hadn’t moved, I would have been at a school with an awful orchestra program; I would’ve spent my free time playing video games or doing equally unproductive things. On a more positive note, perhaps I also would have learned better studying skills!
All in all, I’m glad my parents decided to move. But different experiences aren’t always for the worse; if I went to the other high school, thus going to a college close to home, I’d be able to see my family and old friends a lot more often. Maybe I’d be visiting them this weekend!