Leah Taylor

I believe everything happens for a reason and we all end up where we need to be eventually.

I remember at 8th grade promotion: I couldn’t wait to be a freshman at Mira Costa High School. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m finally a high school student, no longer a 13-year-old. I will finally be able to go out with friends. I will be able to go to football games every Friday night.” Yes, I heard high school was going to be hard and the worst 4 years of our lives but I didn’t let that stop me from being excited. I was ready for the independence and freedom.

Freshman year. Well you could say freshman year was a weird year. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be like. Everyone was trying to find out who they were. It was an awkward year not knowing who you are. Yes, I had my group of friends and I was on the volleyball team but something didn’t seem right. I was just 13 years old and within a couple of months people were already asking me what I wanted to be in the future. I didn’t know the answer to this question. That scared me.

Why was I even excited for high school? Stress is the word to sum up freshman year. Then stress turned into anxiety and anxiety turned into over-thinking. I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I just missed being 13.

Then I made a mistake.

Freshman year summer I stayed in an abusive relationship. Being in an abusive relationship was hard. I was too scared to tell people how hurt I was. I didn’t want him to hurt people I cared about. It’s not easy just to walk away. I wasn’t strong enough just to walk away. It started off with words. The first couple of times it hurt but sadly I got used to it. It got to the point where I would just tell myself he’s mad and he’s only saying these things because he’s upset. Words quickly turned in to actions. I began blaming myself. I wasn’t good enough and that’s why he couldn’t treat me right. I kept questioning and thinking about it. Am I too difficult? Do I ask for too much? Am I not pretty enough? Am I not skinny enough? Maybe I’m just not smart. There had to be a reason why he’s treating me this way. What did I possibly do wrong?
One day I finally got the courage to end things with him. He started saying and doing awful things. He threatened to hurt my family. I was in a dark place and I didn’t know what to do.

Sophomore year rolled around. Just as I thought my life couldn’t get worse, well it did. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror because I was humiliated.  Both girls and boys harassed me. I became depressed and didn’t know what to do. I thought to myself, “Every year that goes by seems to get harder and harder.” Then suddenly I realized I couldn’t go back to Mira Costa. I came home early from school and I knew I couldn’t go back. All Mira Costa made me feel was small and weak. I couldn’t be myself there. Everybody judged and talked.

I told my mom I wanted to do online school but she quickly said no to that idea. Then I wanted to go to a different public school. She told me nothing would be different at another public school. It was too late to enroll in a private school. I felt lost. A week went by and I still wasn’t attending a school.

I was talking to someone one day and she told me about RHP. She explained that it was a small independent school. I asked how small and she said 30-40 people per grade. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. My one English class at Costa had 40 people in it! She talked me in to trying to make the switch. My mom called the school and told them my circumstances. They understood and then let me enroll late. I was so nervous to go back to school. I didn’t want the same situations that were happening at Costa to happen again.

I thought everyone would be the same at RHP as at Mira Costa. I thought I wouldn’t have supportive friends. I thought all of my friends would turn on me again when I needed them the most. So at first I kept quiet.I didn’t talk to many people.

I gave it a couple of weeks and I realized it wasn’t bad. I made friends who supported me whenever I needed it. I can’t begin to thank everyone whowas there for me my sophomore year.
I had supportive teachers that actually knew my name and would answer all my questions. I wasn’t just a number at this school. They actually knew me personally.

I promise you no matter what you are going through right now everything will get better. No matter how badly you are hurting and you feel like nobody is there, somebody will come around and pick you up. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. High school goes by fast so make the most of it. Don’t dwell on the past. Think about the now and focus on your future not your past.

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Rolling Hills Preparatory School

One Rolling Hills Prep Way
1500 Palos Verdes Drive North
San Pedro, CA 90732

T: (310) 791-1101 | F: (323) 310-9973 
Rolling Hills Prep School prides itself on being a forward-looking, academically rigorous college-prep school with a soul. Every day we provide our diverse student body a high-powered traditional curriculum combined with stimulating and innovative teaching techniques both inside and outside the classroom because we believe that success in college and life is best attained by equipping our students with disciplined minds, sound character, healthy bodies and creative spirits. RHP is a private, coeducational day school for grades 6-12, located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, CA.

Renaissance, our sister school, believes that bright students who learn differently can rise to great heights when they become empowered and confident. Visit the Renaissance website.