By Leighah Beausoleil
When people ask me where I am from, I don’t know how to respond.
Their inquisition is typically countered with a series of questions that inevitably ask them to specify what they really want to know about me.
Otherwise, when most people hear I transferred schools 14 times prior to college, the assumption is I am from a military family.
However, that is not the case.
There is no one reason why I have moved as much as I have. Each move has been for its own unique reason and was unexpected.
Therefore, my education prior to FSU was a bit discombobulated.
Each move required me to learn a whole new school system, catch up on the curriculum, and still somehow gain and maintain a social life.
Worse yet, even when I did manage to get comfortable in the latest school, that’s when my transcript would finally come in.
Then, I had to rearrange my whole schedule and enter a new set of classes with different students and typically higher expectations.
Sometimes, I was too far ahead, and other times, I was way behind my peers.
To this day, I have gaps in my knowledge due to the entire units I’ve missed in math, history, and other subjects.
And yet, one school wanted me to skip the seventh grade.
According to the study, “Switching Schools: Reconsidering the Relationship Between School Mobility and High School Dropout,” the prospects of most students in my position include an aptitude for behavioral issues, the likelihood of academic failure, and ultimately, the near certainty of becoming a high school drop out.
The odds were not in my favor.
I was statistically doomed to fail.
I recall sitting in my high school guidance counselors’ office after I completed my final school transfer.
Pulling up my transcript, he was shocked at my grades. He had told me about these poor expectations of students who often fall victim to school mobility.
He had told me I could have been much more successful if I had only had the chance to stay in one place.
But there was no point wallowing in self pity. I had made the most of what my education was, and I knew once I graduated high school, my academic fate would finally be in my own hands.
And I was right.
My experience even gave me an advantage when I got to college. For most people, this is the first big transition they have in their educational careers. They are surrounded by new people and have to become more independent learners.
I had already done this 14 times - what’s a 15th?
My unconventional education taught me lessons and gave me experiences that most people never encounter.
I have come to terms with my school mobility experience. It has shaped me into the person I am today.
It strengthened my independence. It taught me that if I wanted something, I had to go get it because no one else was going to do it for me and help was hard to come by.
As I was getting ready to apply for colleges my senior year of high school, I had planned out another decade or so of education - I was going to be a dentist. Though I still find the field fascinating, it never gave me the thrill that my journalism class did that year.
Showing up at school an hour earlier than necessary, I sat down with my high school journalism teacher, Mr. Van Constantine, and shared with him my pros and cons list of going into journalism versus dentistry.
That is when he told me to just go for journalism.
Though I was embarrassed at the time to have such a significant change in career paths, it was ultimately the right choice for me.
My educational and life experiences have led me to the career that I can now never imagine not pursuing. My high school journalism class showed me the importance of community and how valuable it is to be a voice for that community.
When I finally got to Framingham State, I took what I knew and I seized every opportunity I could to achieve my goal of becoming a journalist.
Now, I have community everywhere I go.
I am continuously learning every day.
I am able to explore different subject areas and hear people’s stories.
I am doing what I had always dreamed of - I just didn’t know it yet.