By Ameera Surka
Stark classrooms and the loud ticking of the clocks. Harsh teachers that didn’t care to know my name; and an Ameera that I never want to be again. I had very few friends, and the friends that I did have were tempting me to party more than study. As a result of this, I earned bad grades, and it stressed me out to the point that I was resorting to dangerous behavior to cope with it. I knew I had to get away. That was another local high school. Spring forward to a bright and happy environment where I had teachers that knew my name and my story. Teachers who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed and thrive as a young adult. Friends that supported me in every decision I made. This is Spartanburg Day School; and I am proud to be a Spartanburg Day School Griffin, for it has made me a better and happier person.
I used to care a lot about what people thought about me, and I would often talk a big game so that people would like me. At SDS, I don’t feel the need to do that. I feel comfortable with who I am now, because the Day School has taught me that it’s okay for me to be me. Not only is it okay, it’s preferable to “talking a big game”. In turn, I feel much more confident in everything that I do, and the relationships that I have formed here at the Day School are based on the person that I really am. I am far less stressed about my social status. Spartanburg Day School encourages us to thrive as a community and not separate ourselves into a ‘social hierarchy’. Because I am no longer worried about how people see me, I am able to focus more on what really matters: my academic career and education past high school. I have learned so much in the last year that I have been here, not only academically but about myself as well. I have come to realize my full potential in life. It is hard to put into words how much the Day School has changed me and how much I love it here.
I used to worship the clocks at my other high school. I was always ready for 3:15 to come so that I could bolt. But now, at the Day School, I am bummed when the day is over, because I want to learn more. I go on holiday break and after a few days, I want to go back. I want to go back and learn even more than the week before and be around the people that I know care about my wellbeing. Most importantly, I have learned how to better manage my stress. I used to blow things off and pretend that they didn’t happen. Now, I am able to breathe deeply, relax my muscles, and plow through my work. I am much more able to communicate as well. When I was struggling with a class, I would just say that things will get better on their own. Here, I am able to go back to my teachers and have an honest conversation about why my grades are the way that they are and how I can improve. As a student at my other high school, I was indirectly taught to trust no one. I have learned that at the Day School, trust is key. At the beginning of my first semester at SDS, I was having trouble fitting in because I was uncomfortable. I was feeling anxious in my new school, so my mom and dad told me to go and talk to my principal. When I nervously shuffled into his office, Mr. MacMullan greeted me with a warm, welcoming smile. In the beginning, it was hard for me to tell him what was really going on. But after a while, I came to realize that if he didn’t truly care about how I was feeling and what I needed help with, then he wouldn’t take time out of his day to come by and check on me or send me an email asking how I was doing. After telling him what was really going on, things slowly got better, and easier. I now know that there are people out in this world other than my family that I can trust when I need help; and I have also learned how to be that person for other people.
Spartanburg Day School has made me much happier than I was before. It gave me a chance to make friends that I will keep for a lifetime, teachers that will remember my name and my smile. It has taught me the value of trust. I now know my real worth not only as a student, but as a friend, a colleague, and as a person. So I am proud to say that I am a Spartanburg Day School Griffin.