“It started when I was around ten, my parents applied for the lottery which gives you a green card to come from Bolivia to the United States. My parents were told that only two hundred thousand people out of one million win it.
At the end of my fifth grade year, my parents were told that we were one of the ones who got picked. I didn’t know about it until a week before we were supposed to fly here.
We came to the United States halfway through December, in 5th grade, and I got bullied really bad because I cut my hair very short. It was so severe that I got stabbed in the eye by a pencil (to this day I still have a scar from that pencil on my eye).
After that, we moved back to Bolivia because I was being bullied so badly. We soon decided to go back to the United States (because we still had our green card) when we heard that Seven Lakes Junior High was built. I went into sixth grade without being able to speak English so I had to teach myself because Seven Lakes hadn’t started their ESOL (English as a Second Language) program yet.
It was really hard because I didn’t know anybody. Everyone already had their own little clique; so it was hard to fit in. I went through a lot of depression (to this day, I still have it but it’s slowly getting better).
It was hard because not being able to speak English singled me out in every class. People looked at me weirdly because I dressed differently from other girls. That was hard because I felt very alone sometimes, not knowing the American culture.
I met most of my friends on the bus and I had this friend *Jane; she was my all time best friend. She helped me through everything. She was my rock during this time because she helped me with English and helped me make friends. She opened me up and cracked my shell because I was an introvert back then and now you see me and I’m very outgoing.
When I came into high school, Jane and I had a falling out. It was hard but I found new friends – friends that I still hang out with to this day. I am now a much happier person than I was before. I cut my hair again and after that, I felt so comfortable with myself. I was happier and everyday felt better.
The biggest lesson that I have learned is to not pay attention to what people say. I used to build my entire life around what people said about me – I always had to fit myself into a little box that people made for me and that made me unhappy. Now that I have broken out of the box of people’s expectations, I feel more content with myself.”
*Name has been altered