During my transition in to high school, two years ago, I was lucky enough to have parents willing and able to sacrifice for my education. I had a choice between attending a smaller urban school that happens to be private and going to the large public high school in the suburb I’ve grown up in. At the time, it seemed like I was surrounded by decent people who were all more or less “just like me.” I was influenced by a combination of the pressure not to lose friends and a curiosity of the diverse crowds of students, classes, and multifaceted environment that laid inside the larger school. That, as well as my parents willingness to let my education be my choice contributed to my eventual enrollment in Oak Park River Forest High School.
Somehow, my junior high school friends became ex friends, and now I’ve moved onto a new crowd of my high school friends. The people who I felt I must must must go to school with are no longer a part of my life. The student body at my school doesn’t feel quite so diverse anymore. And I’m beginning to feel like I am now surrounded by mostly decent people who are more or less “just like…” each other.
And basically it just feels way too much like high school in the movies. There are cliques but no one really knows why they are in the group they are in and people don’t seem to question the social segregation at all.
I think if anything should be a serious problem to have in a learning environment it is for it to be a place where people restrict themselves from sharing ideas with others. At such a pivotal period of time, during adolescence when we are getting our first glimpses of independence and figuring out exactly who we are, the last thing we should have is to feel confined to certain people, or points of view.
No, I’m not completely unhappy at my school. I am involved in various programs and clubs that I have certainly benefited from. I also have made some very good friends.
It’s not that I am unsatisfied with how things are going but the school has not turned out to be the open, diverse and excting place I had hoped for and I find myself asking if I am in the right place. And maybe I just need a change. So halfway through high school, I’ve taken independent school exams, reapplied to the school that I was considering two years ago and opened the possibilities for my future once again.
I do continue to worry about the fact that not everyone is not fortunate enough to have this choice. I’m still disturbed by the reality that private schools are indeed private and not accessible to everyone. If I do decide this school is right for me, I’m determined to walk in and out of it with my principles intact.