Almost all my life, I went to a small private school of about 200 students. Everyone was the same. They had the same socioeconomic background, the same race, and the same beliefs. I went to this small private school for 9 years, growing up with the same people. When I look back at that school, I love how close I was to my class of 20 kids. We were all best friends, it was easy and comfortable. This changed when I went to high school. Unlike most of my classmates who continued on to a small private high school that was similar to the school my classmates and I grew up in, I chose a different route and went to a large public high school of almost 2000 students.
When I walked in on my first day I felt pretty alone. I knew almost no one. As I spent my first day adjusting the first thing I noted was the diversity. I could no longer rely on people understanding what my life was like. I was challenged to get to know and understand different ways of life. I enjoyed meeting people who were different from me. However, it was difficult because I was never in a position like this before and I had to learn to find common ground and make new friends. After my freshman year, I went to Teen Institute Leadership camp for 3 days. Here is where I finally blossomed as a person.
At this camp, I was taught how to meet and interact with people who were different from me. I got to meet people who had completely different backgrounds and upbringings. I became more sensitive to how others choose to live and to open my own eyes to different opinions and beliefs without judgment. What I took away from this camp was a new ability to be a leader to all people. I have been a leader throughout my whole life, but it was always a one-dimensional ability as I was only a true leader to people like me.
After this camp, I was now a leader to all people, no matter their background. I am able to relate to them in at least one way. This is now what I pride myself on. I love being able to meet new people and to be an example to them. From what I learned I decided to join Link Crew at my high school. Here I am able to help incoming freshmen that had the same challenges in a new environment that I had coming to a new school.
While I will always cherish my moments and memories at my small private school, I will forever be grateful that I chose to attend a large public school. It has helped me diversify my entire life. While my friends at a private school are meeting people just like them, I am meeting people with different backgrounds and learning how to become a leader to a diverse group of people. I have not only diversified the people around me, but also my own personality.