Aug 02, 2017

Growing Through Change

By Lori Draz and Christin "C.C." Jakub

Welcome to Teen Scene. Each month, our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact The Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry – let’s just get to sharing.

This month’s author is Fair Haven’s Christin “C.C.” Jakub, a 17-year-old rising senior at Trinity Hall. Many students preparing for the new school year will experience changes. Perhaps they’ll move into a new class, or a new school entirely, while some others are coping with a sibling moving off to college or the stresses of taking on new afterschool activities. Those kinds of shifts can bring on anxiety, nervousness, depression, or worry. Change is a natural part of life. This month’s author got an early glimpse into change when her family moved into a larger home. As the eldest, she not only felt the changes, but served as the role model for her four siblings. Her honest insight into that life-changing chapter in her life helps us all understand that sometimes good things come in unexpected packages; you just have to be willing to open them with an open mind and heart. Here is Christin’s story:

Fair Haven, New Jersey always had a special place in my heart. I was born there, I went to school there, I learned how to ride my bike there, met my friends there. For the first 11 years of my life, almost everything I did was in the little bubble of Fair Haven; a quiet neighborhood that was secluded from the outside world. Our four-bedroom ranch house was a relatively good size, but my family started to feel crammed in after my youngest brother was born, and we became a family of seven. After months of searching, my parents finally found the “perfect house” to move into: five bedrooms, a large backyard, spacious rooms, and it even had an elevator! My parents made sure that we stayed in Fair Haven so we wouldn’t have to change schools. Even though everything seemed perfect, I knew it would still be a big change because we were moving to the other side of town, and in the eyes of an 11-year-old, that was like moving to a whole other stratosphere. It meant I would have to leave everything I grew up with: my room, the climbing trees in the backyard, the neighborhood kids. Everything would slowly drift into distant memories. My home would soon belong to a group of strangers. The thought of it made my stomach flop. What would our new neighbors be like? Would I make new friends? It didn’t matter how far I was moving; all that mattered was that I was leaving behind what I knew and stepping into the unknown, which was a scary thought.

We moved at the end of my fifth grade year, marking a big transition between fifth and sixth grade for me. Our new house was much bigger, just as I was getting bigger, and there was plenty of room for all of us to have our own space and independence. I remember walking out to the backyard and seeing a large field of grass, which looked like it went on for miles because our old backyard was so tiny. My dad was already laying out plans to build a pool for the next summer. The room in my new house was an upgrade from my old room. It was further away from the other rooms on the second floor, so I could have more privacy from my brothers. It was bigger, too, and my mom already had some ideas for decorating. Though I missed my old room already, I started to recognize how childish it was. I realized I was old enough now to pick out my own things and create a new room. I had a blank canvas and all the time to paint it.

While I was terrified when I first found out I had to move, I realized this house was full of opportunities to start a new point in my life. We were living down the street from my middle school and a few of my friends, so I could walk and ride my bike everywhere. Yes, the new house felt cluttered with unpacked boxes and brand new furniture, but it was big enough for our family to feel at home and foster our own sense of community. The smaller house we left behind had become too full for us to grow any more ideas or memories. Looking back, I realize that we had spent enough time there. Our new neighborhood was full of friendly people and space for us kids to grow up and make new memories.

This move was the start of many changes for me. I started playing different sports in middle school, my groups of friends began changing, and I eventually went to a different high school than the rest of my friends. Change is not something we should be afraid of, but something we should embrace and cherish, because it is what drives growth and success in our lives. A year from now, I will be going off to college and everything around me will change again. It’s a scary thought, but also an exciting one, as I will be stepping into a new place filled with opportunities to progress and further develop who I am as a person. If I learned one thing from my moving experience, it was that we should welcome change and try new things, because the new experiences we expose ourselves to are what make us so unique, and that is something to be proud of.