In your life you will have many “firsts”. First time eating sushi, first kiss, first competition, the list goes on.
My first day of school in Portugal was terrifying and I had no idea what to expect. To my surprise, I had the grades to get into the 3rd ranked private school in the Algarve. I didn’t have the capability to learn Portuguese on an academic level in my final years of school, so going to an English studies private school was my only option. The school is associated with Cambridge University in England and follows the AS and A level curriculum. Basically, it’s hard, stressful and demanding. I had planned to study and become a dermatologist as I had mentioned before, not knowing the reality of the medical field. Until I finally arrived for my registered classes of AS level Math, Chemistry, Biology and Business. I wasn’t familiar with the AS and A level curriculum and according to my last school I was an okay student.
When I greeted my fellow classmates (3 guys, no joke) and looked at the math board, I wanted to walk out. It all looked like hieroglyphics and I knew I was going to struggle that day and everyday after that. My math teacher, a soft-spoken but lovely woman, had known this as well. Her face along with the other staff members seemed to say “you poor girl, why did they do this to you?”. I carried out the day choking back tears, meeting the rest of the senior school (grades 11,12 and 13) in bunches. It was a very small school and the classes were even smaller, which I wasn’t used to. Everyone was nice and welcoming. Not once was I approached with a threatening face unlike in Miami where every one struts around with a fallen mug expression. I assumed this was the case since every one had been in my position at some point. Every person I met was from a different country and were very good-looking.
When the day finished at 5 o’clock, I walked out to my dad’s car and cried. I had a breakdown when I got back to the hotel room. I wasn’t accustomed to having so few classes, so few classmates, and so little breath between sobs. I was morning my old life. As if my first day experience couldn’t be any worse, I had to take mid-term exams as assessment tests for the rest of the week. I had developed a testing anxiety after this.
I actually did very well in Business, just as good as the guys who had been there all year. The business teacher and I had become good pals. However, I was not equipped for the other subjects. The syllabus was at a level too in-depth for the little I knew. After the tests, I had switched to English language and English Literature since my writing skills were enough and continued with Business. Turns out the business teacher had taught those subjects as well, her and I spent too much time together. I was more intuitive with words than chemicals. Then again, I still wasn’t ready to take on Cambridge exams having only been introduced to the curriculum 3 months prior. By the end of the year, I failed my exams so badly I had to be ‘held back’ for my benefit. I found myself sitting on the school steps in tears yet again, helpless and stupid. I hadn’t accomplished anything.
Today, 2 years later after my first day, I over came my academic obstacles. I enjoy school and learning from everything and everyone. My anxiety with testing is not gone but has subsided for the time being. Opposed to the educational system in Miami, I was given lots of attention and provided details on what needed to be improved in my performance to help me become a successful student. Without my amazing teacher’s dedication, I probably would have stayed on those steps. She really is a miracle worker. I have recently planned a prom for my fellow class of 15 students and will be graduating this June. Having studied my particular subjects, had inspired my prospects of studying journalism.
Moving to a new school is difficult but after a week or so the routine starts to settle. you figure out the ups and downs quite quickly . In the end it’s only school but what you learn and do with the information is what matters. It may take trial and error but it provides endless opportunity in the long run, giving up is not an option when it comes to your well-being. I hope, dear reader, that if you have been introduced to an obstacle like mine, that you will be creative and find a way to succeed.