I paid a visit to my high school last week. Surprising my two best friends and reminiscing as I walked the hallways I once roamed with such a powerful presence, it finally hit me. I’m growing up.
My mother had told me that my personality would form in high school. “It’s when you start making your own decisions,” she said. Of course I believed her. Then again, I believed her because I wanted to. I wanted to feel like I was making my own decisions. I wanted that feeling of control over my life. After all, I was president of the student council, the chief at the local air cadet squadron, a black belt in the base taekwondo club and worked part time as a lifeguard. I had checked everything off. Everything appeared in place.
The thing is, it wasn’t.
I got an early acceptance from Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa) in late November. After some consideration, I accepted the offer, concluding that it was a practical decision in the capitalist world we live in and four years from now I’d be able to find a job easily. Life continued and I finished high school and moved out. And then reality happened.
My parents moved back to Turkey and the day our plane landed in Istanbul, was the day my grandmother died. I don’t even remember how those two weeks went by. I think we celebrated my birthday at some point. I turned 18. I think I had a drink.
Back in Ottawa, I started work at a Turkish restaurant downtown. I ended up working around 25 hours a week and this took an obvious toll on my studies. I could have taken less shifts, but I guess I needed the distraction.
After wearing myself thin towards the end of the semester, I thought about my future. I thought about the type of person I was and who I wanted to be. It was at that point that I unregistered from all the classes I had for second semester. I was scared.
Sure, I had family friends and even a friend who is more like a sister than anything, but I didn’t know what to tell them. I didn’t know how to explain that I was unhappy and lonely. I didn’t know whether I should tell them that I couldn’t wrap my head around the mentality of my program. I didn’t know if business was a field I could be successful in. I didn’t know, I didn’t know, I didn’t know…
Fast-forward to now.
I’m over my meltdown from first semester. I let my family’s departure, my grandmother’s death and the whole drama of first year take over me both mentally and physically. Now, I have so much to be thankful for. I’m back on track with taekwondo and I’ve reduced my shifts. I’ve also been accepted to an honours programme in Biopharmaceutical Sciences in the fall.
Who knows, maybe we do grow up most in high school. Change wise though, it think it happens when you’re out on your own. You learn more about yourself when you’re taking decisions that affect you and you alone.