Throughout middle school I was a very anxious child, I got fidgety thinking about the small things and I had little to no friends as a result of being nervous to talk to anyone. I developed a habit of biting my nails, my stomach would always feel uneasy at the thought of presenting in front of the entire class, and I couldn’t bring myself to talk to others. There were specific moments where I couldn’t work up the nerve to ask questions during class, or walk across the lunchroom without thinking everyone was whispering about me.
Despite all of this, though, I somehow managed to make a couple of friends. I never quite got that close to any of them, which is why I barely talk to anyone who I used to know from that time, but they did help me through a lot of what I was experiencing throughout those years, letting me rant and making some of middle school fun for me. I also wasn’t that bad of a student. I was shy, but I wasn’t a slacker in my classes, I knew how important it was to my parents and I made sure I kept focus on my grades.
As I transitioned from seventh grade to eighth I reminded myself of how good of a student I was, encouraging me that I would be fine as I transitioned between these grades. For some reason, though, I failed to feel the same as I was finishing up the last few months of 8th grade and prepared myself for my first year of high school, now it felt more real. I felt as if this was the big moment, this was the decider of whether or not I make it in life, whether or not I’d get into a good college and make a future for myself.
Regardless of knowing that not only thousands of people succeed and graduate high school, but also how trustworthy I was with my classwork, I continued to feel anxious about the transition. I knew it was something very common, almost everyone goes through high school and it’s not like everyone’s life turns out awful, but there continued to be this pit of self-doubt and fear in my stomach. Throughout my last few weeks of 8th grade, there was a continuous loop of different scenarios for how I could mess up high school running through my head. They ranged from small little things like forgetting to study and failing a quiz, to being too shy to ask a question in class and ultimately falling behind and flunking.
A few weeks into the summer I found out that on top of all of this, I wasn’t going to be seeing my middle school friends in 9th grade. I wasn’t going to be attending the high school I’ve been looking forward to, the one I’ve been preparing for; I was switching schools. The scenarios got worse, not only was I know imagining myself losing myself on campus and being late to every one of my classes, but I also saw myself sitting at lunch alone, on my phone, unable to build up the courage to speak to anyone around me. My doubts got bigger. How was I going to survive without my friends by my side? How was I going to keep up with the pace of this new school? How was I ever going to fit in and figure all of this out?
It was hard and lonely for a while, but looking back, it could’ve been worse. My first day was the worst out of all of them, though. I spent the whole day alone, running those dumb scenarios through my head of how I would ultimately mess up my future during what seemed to be the most important years of my life. I walked the hallways on my first day, terrified of what people would think of me. Everyone here already knew each other, I would see people hugging and telling each other about their summers from the corner of my eye as I sat alone at lunch. I sat in class after class, surrounded by strangers and scary faces, being warned about how challenging it was going to be, how if I dared to slack off I’d fall completely behind. I was terrified.
Months went by during my first year before I finally started socializing with people and feeling comfortable around the school, but once I did, high school wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like I instantly, out of anywhere, got the confidence to convince myself that I was going to end up ruining my life during these years, but over the months I felt comfortable enough to get the hang of everything.
I ended up memorizing where all the classrooms where, I no longer sat alone at lunch, I got used to the change of pace, and in the end, I turned out to not be that bad of a high school student. I was passing my classes, building connections with students and teachers, and overall getting comfortable in what used to be a new and scary environment. As of now, I do not only have a group of friends I can trust and spend time with, but my life is also not a complete train wreck. If my past self could see me as of now, she would be surprised to see that I didn’t completely mess up my life.
Looking back at this, if I’m being honest, I was completely exaggerating about this. At the time I thought it was the end of the world, that there was no possible way I could successfully complete high school without messing up my life. Despite my doubts, the opposite turned out to be true. I did not completely mess up my life, and I didn’t flunk out of high school! I got the hang of things and turned out all right.
Whenever I’m about to go through seemingly big life transitions, I look back at these moments that once seemed big and scary but ended up completely okay. When I went into junior year as everyone told me it was going to be the hardest, I looked back at these small moments. When I started dual credit online, confused about how blackboard worked and nervous about how I manage my time, I looked back at these small moments. What seemed like big scary moments turned out to be small milestones throughout my life, and as I continue to reach others that seem intimidating to me I look back at the ones I have accomplished to reassure me of everything.
Taysha is a seventeen-year-old girl attending the International Leadership of Texas in Fort Worth, Texas as a senior. She was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Texas when she was very young. She typically likes writing about past feelings, emotions and overall mental battles she has gone through in the past.