by Alison Standish
11 May 2018
The hallways of a new school can seem like difficult waters, especially to students who enter into a new school while in the midst of their high school years. Waves of new teachers, new clubs, new friends, and new activities can be overwhelming, but some of the Oswego East transfer students have learned how to sail.
According to junior Kenneth Roberts, who transfered to East from Naperville Central High school, changing schools can be used as an opportunity to start over and to create oneself in a completely different light.
“To be a transfer student.. It’s a little strange. When you first come in you don’t really know anybody. [But] Coming into school and being a transfer student is more like getting a fresh new slate. Nobody knows you. You can make yourself who you want to be. That’s kind of how [being] a transfer student is to me at least. That’s what I believe it is,” Roberts said.
Junior Ayesha Ahmed, who comes to Oswego East from Crystal Lake Central High School, used her transition as an opportunity to discover new aspects of her personality. She said that one major consequence of changing schools was the requirement to be more outgoing than she was previously used to.
“This year so far has been pretty good. I think that meeting new people this year kind of made me as a person more open. I was kind of forced to open up a little bit. I think it helped me as a person,” Ahmed said.
On the other hand, not all experiences for the Oswego East transfer students have been easy. Junior Maidiya Ouro-Sama said that being new at school was most definitely a big challenge.
“Nobody knows me, everyone here has been here since freshman year so it’s awkward when you want to try and join different groups that were probably formed since before high school,” Ouro-Sama said. “I can’t be captain of anything that I’m passionate about or join a lot of things, because these are mostly people that have done them for years. It’s hard.”
“Everywhere you go you’re not going to find people … who get you or people who understand you or people who are nice to you. Pretty much the only person you can count on in this world is yourself. I’m [not good] at being by myself. Learning to be by myself was a struggle for me this year. But it’s a good skill.”
— junior Maidiya Ouro-Sama
School counselor intern Janice Kerr said that the biggest challenge for a transfer student can be a strong sense of dislocation.
“Transfer students oftentimes experience a sense of loss – loss of friends, their home, their neighborhood and familiarity. They often do not leave their old school by their choice but choices made for them so that can lead to feeling a loss of control as well,” Kerr said.
Kerr specializes in working with transfer students and hosted a transfer student support group for Oswego East students at the beginning of first semester.
Kerr also said that this sense of dislocation, however, can actually morph into a strong life skill and an overall asset as students move on to bigger factions of life.
“One big advantage for transfer students is learning early how to adapt to change that you did not want,” Kerr said. “Sure, most students will not see it this way during the adjustment period but if they can successfully navigate this change, then they will be more prepared for the changes that every day life will bring as they transition into adulthood.”
Roberts said that he believes himself to be a stronger person after the change and more adept to figuring out various social situations.
“[I’m] better at socializing because you kind of have to get out there and talk to people and figure stuff out for yourself. I think it helps you with strategizing,” Roberts said.
Ouro-Sama said that while being by herself can be a challenge at times, she’s glad she was able to learn the skill.
“Everywhere you go you’re not going to find people … who get you or people who understand you or people who are nice to you. Pretty much the only person you can count on in this world is yourself,” Ouro-Sama said. “I’m [not good] at being by myself. Learning to be by myself was a struggle for me this year. But it’s a good skill.”
Ahmed had a good year and is happy with the new friends and new opportunities she was able to experience as a result of transferring to Oswego East.
“Socially, I made a lot of new friends here because everyone’s super nice and chill,” Ahmed said. “Academically, there’s a lot of classes at this school and clubs that I didn’t have at my old school so I kind of had new opportunities to learn and interact with people.”
Ouro-Sama has been a transfer student her whole life, moving from country to country and changing schools with each move. According to her, the grading system and overall academics at Oswego East are a lot less challenging than what she experienced before.
“I was in a British school freshman year and a French school sophomore year. The grading is different, we actually had to take exams at the end of the year no matter if you were a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior,” Ouro-Sama said. “It was [much] harder because you had all these projects and essays all simultaneously. [There was] so much to do. But here it’s not like that.”
Roberts is also satisfied with his academic progress at East.
“It’s actually improved my grades. Coming here, I’ve done better in school,” Roberts said.
One of Ahmed’s favorite parts about Oswego East is the large amount of students in comparison to her old school as well as the many different cultures found within the students at East.
“I thought this school was super big compared to my old school. My last school was really small. [Oswego East] is also very diverse,” Ahmed said. “There’s a bunch of different cultures, and everyone is kind of different. Not only that but everyone individually is [very] different.”
Ouro-Sama said that, through transitioning, she was able to meet many new people as well as experience the many different activities within the school, adding that East provided opportunities beyond those of simply meeting new people.
“Compared to my old school, this school is a lot better. [There are] better sports programs and better opportunities that this school offers versus my old school so that’s a plus,” Ouro-Sama said.
Ahmed is looking forward to next year, planning on helping any new transfer students she might encounter.
“I think next year is going to be super fun, honestly. It’s senior year and I’m just going to make the most out of it. If anyone’s going to be lost, like how I used to be, I’m definitely going to help out and try to lend a hand,” Ahmed said.
Alison Standish is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL