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Sophomore copes with change of a new school

Madi Finken, Cub Reporter
Originally published December 17, 2013


Haley Barber

Haley Barber

Torn up by roots, sophomore Haley Barber is forced to leave everything she has ever known behind when she is shipped to Seattle and left to attend a new school. On her own and without a clue how to cope, she somehow managed to find a place in her new community.

Barber previously attended Lake Washington High school located in Bellevue. She had never changed schools before, and has grown up from the beginning with the same close group of friends. She never had to make new ones, so she said that aspect of the move was most difficult on her, with her shy demeanor and reserved personality.

“I miss my friends, I miss walking through the halls of my old school and knowing almost every single person,” Barber said, “I miss always having someone to talk to.” The transition of fitting in with mostly everyone at her old school to eating alone in the library at Ballard High has had the greatest effect on her. “It gets kinda lonely,” Barber said.

Although this drastic change in Barbers life has been hard on her, she said she holds no resentment towards her parents for causing it. “It was for my dad’s job,” Barber said, “he needed this promotion more than I needed to stay at Lake Washington. I understand it was a turning point in our lives.”

Barber’s family moved to Ballard for easier access to her father’s new promotion. Jeff Barber sells high rate dental equipment, and travels across the country for different job opportunities. This is the first time the job has forced his family to pack up and travel to a new place permanently. “Usually his job allowed us to take spontaneous vacations, this is the first time we’ve actually had to stay somewhere we’ve visited,” Barber said.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013 study suggests that changing high schools when you are mid-way through can have negative effects on the student. The more times subjects made the transition from one high school to another, the more likely they were to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being as an adult.

Barber comments on this study, saying it all depends on how well you can adapt. “I went into the transition with a mindset to do well,” Barber said. ” I think this move will affect my life satisfaction as an adult positively rather than hurt it.”

Barber hesitates before answering if she would move back to her old school if given the opportunity, tugging on her ponytail thoughtfully. “Maybe…I would love to be reunited with my old friends, but this is big for my family. I would have to stay here to support them and their future plans.”

“I know this is cliché, but I’ve learned from this experience that you have to be grateful for what your life is like at the moment,” Barber said, “because when the moment passes you’re going to miss what you had.”

Barbers parents both feel that it was good for Haley to experience a change like this in her life at least once. They explained that her life dream is to travel and getting too attached to one place will limit her ability to accomplish that. “We just want Haley to be able to live the life she dreams of living, and we think the move will help her to do so,” Natalie Barber said, “This is a really good experience for her, and in the long run she will end up with twice the amount of friends when she’s older.”

Barber agrees with what her parents had to say, and hopes that they are right. Both her parents moved schools a lot when they were in high school due to their parent’s being enlisted in the US Army. They said that it was hard to adapt at first, but it really will help you in the future.

Attending BHS has taught Barber a life lesson, change isn’t always for the worst. Her new school has welcomed Barber into the community with open arms, and Lake Washington still has room for her on the weekends.

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Sophomore copes with change of a new school