Moving across the world during a pandemic

Flying for 22 hours to an unfamiliar place that was approximately 8343 miles away terrified me. Just like any other student moving to another school, I was excited and nervous. The only difference some students didn’t experience was moving across the world. I didn’t just leave my friends, relatives, and memories. I left my home and didn’t even get to say goodbye face to face because of covid.


I grew up in Guam and lived there for 15 years before moving to Virginia. Guam is a small island in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines. There’s a 14-hour time difference and it’s a struggle to talk with my friends from there. Growing up, when someone moved to the states, we always saw it as a chance to have a better life and future. That idea wasn’t wrong but no one brought up how hard it was and I think I felt more lonely because of the pandemic.


My thought process in the beginning of this school year was that maybe if I moved in freshman year, I would’ve been able to make friends way faster since I wouldn’t be the only one new to the school. My first day of school at South Lakes was in my junior year and I felt the big gap between me and my classmates. Most of my peers knew each other and were already in their friend groups so I felt as if I was just forcing myself in the school. I had friends but I still felt alone and couldn’t feel the familiarity in the school. 


I started to feel more comfortable in the school after a few weeks and I had one person in every class that I was able to talk to if I needed help. Most people didn’t talk to others much but there were friendly people who’d approach me first or start a conversation. 


There are lots of advantages at South Lakes. For example, I was able to see if I was really into journalism and if I’d fall in love with it. I didn’t fall in love with journalism but seeing articles that I wrote on the website made me feel like I was doing something right. Another thing I was able to try was culinary arts. In Guam, I got into a program called ProStart and that was the path that I was going to take throughout my last three years of high school until I figured out I was moving. Since I was finally able to try Culinary, I felt really happy because it was something close to what I would’ve done in Guam.


 Additionally, I got a lot more help when my counselor told me about the New Hawks at the Lakes program. I made a friend really fast and they helped me around the school. Whenever I had a question, they would help me as much as they could and didn’t hesitate to offer assistance.


Lately, I started doing more things to keep myself occupied in order to catch up with everything going on in school. I joined clubs and started looking into other programs that the school offered like the College Partnership Program. Things that I noticed since I moved is that time goes by really fast here. Nothing and no one will wait for you to catch up because everything is so fast paced. As the end of the year got closer, I started to get more comfortable and involved which started to make South Lakes feel more comfortable.